The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 1

Allen, Thomas

1827

History of London from the Conquest to the reign of Henry the Third.

History of London from the Conquest to the reign of Henry the Third.

 

On the extinction of the Anglo Saxon government in England by the victory of William over Harold, at the decisive battle of Hastings, anno , Edwin and Morcar, Earls of Northumberland and Mercia, hastened from the fatal field, and arriving in London, proposed to the citizens the setting up of Edgar Atheling for King, as the most effectual way to extricate themselves and the nation from their present state of confusion, and to save the kingdom from becoming a prey to the victorious Norman.

The citizens being in great consternation were divided in opinion; some thinking it more for their interest to deliver up the city to the conqueror, lest they should by resistance exasperate him to destroy it, whilst the majority supporting the arguments of the above noblemen, declared for Edgar, and for defending the city to the utmost of their power.

William receiving advice of the conduct of the citizens, hastened his march towards London, and arriving in , was attacked by the citizens, who were repulsed by a detachment of Norman horse, though with such a loss to the latter, that the conqueror thought it prudent to decline undertaking the siege of so formidable a place in winter; he therefore laid in ashes, and marched to reduce the western counties. In the mean time the clergy of London sought all opportunities to break the measures entered into between the Londoners and Earls Morcar and Mercia; by dint of perseverance and craft, they at last prevailed upon the citizens to break their contract and submit to the conqueror's yoke, an act contrary to all the ties of justice and honour, and diametrically opposite to the interests of their country. Upon this disgraceful defection of the citizens, the Earls retired into the north of England, and the bishops and clergy repaired to Berkhampstead, where they submitted, and swore fealty to the conqueror; and as if that were not sufficient to ingratiate themselves with the Norman bastard, they not only prevailed upon the major part of the nobility, but likewise upon Edgar Atheling himself, who had just before been created king, to submit to the Norman authority. William no sooner received the agreeable news of the city of London's submission, than he began his march thither, where he was received by the magistrates, and principal citizens, who not only presented him with the keys of their city, but likewise acknowledged him for their sovereign; and in conjunction with the nobility and prelates then present, desired him to accept the crown. The capital city having thus declared for the conqueror, its example was quickly followed by all the rest of the kingdom. Having thus

50

gained possession of London, William caused a strong fortress to be erected, which he garrisoned with the best of his troops in order to secure the same, and awe the citizens; notwithstanding, when he made his public entry into London soon after, he was received with the greatest acclamations, and external signs of joy.

The conqueror soon after set out to visit his Norman dominions; and on his return from thence, in the d year of his reign, anno , was received into London with a magnificent procession of the clergy, magistrates, and principal citizens; in return for which, and at the intercession of William Stigand, (the Norman) Bishop of London, he granted a charter to the citizens in their own language; a great favour at that time, when the Anglo Norman was so common. This charter consists of lines and a quarter, beautifully written in the Saxon character on a slip of parchment, of the length of inches, and breadth of , which is preserved in the city archives as a jewel of great value. The seal of the charter is of white wax, and now broken into several pieces, preserved in an orange coloured silk bag; the rim of the seal being almost gone, the only letters remaining are M. WILL. but the writing of the charter is very perfect. The following is an exact transcript: ZZZ

Willm. kyng gret WIlm. bisceop

Gofregð porteran

ealle pa burhparu binnan Londone Frencirce

Englirce freondliche.

ic kyð eoþ þy ic pille, þe get beon eallra paera laga peorðe þe gyt perau on Eadperded daeye kynged.

ic pylle paet aelc cyld beo hid faeder yrfnume aeften hid fraeðer daege.

ic nelle gepolian þe aenig man eop aenig prang beode God eop gehealde.

In English thus:

William the King friendly salutes William the Bishop, and Godfrey the Portreve, and all the Burgesses within London, both French and English. And I declare, that I grant you to be all law-worthy,

as you were in the days of King Edward;

51

and I grant that every child shall be his father's heir, after his father's days; and I will not suffer any person to do you wrong. God keep you. Some time after, William granted to the citizens another charter in the same language, consisting of lines finely written on a slip of parchment, of the length of inches and a half, and breadth quarters of an inch, which is carefully preserved in the city archives.

The seal of this charter is of white wax, broken and sewed up in a silken bag like the former. The contents of it are as follows:

In English thus:

William the King friendly salutes William the Bishop, and Swegn the Sheriff, and all my thanes (or nobles) in East Saxony; whom I hereby acquaint that, pursuant to an agreement, I have granted to the people my servants the hide of land at Gyddesdune. And also, that I will not suffer either the French or the English to hurt them in any thing. By this charter's not mentioning the persons to whom the grant was made, it probably cannot be paralleled. The hide of land therein mentioned Mr. Maitland considers to have been at Gadsden in Hertfordshire.

Mr. Brayley remarks as a curious fact,

In the year , a great fire happened in the city; whereby the greatest part of it was laid in ashes. And about years after, the Conqueror caused the present white Tower of London to be erected (in the place where it is supposed he built his fort above-mentioned) for the more effectually keeping the citizens in obedience, whose fidelity at this time, it seems, he had some reason to suspect, his numerous exactions having caused great murmurs.

In , another very dreadful fire happened, which began at Ludgate, and consumed the cathedral of St. Paul, with the greatest part of the city.

A curious occurrence happened about : King William Rufus, having received some very rich presents from the Jews of this city, was transported to such an amazing decree of frantic joy, as to encourage them to dispute with the Christians concerning their respective faiths, assuring them, that, if they obtained the victory, he would himself become of their religion.

In , upwards of houses, and many churches, were blown down in London by a tremendous hurricane, which occurred in the month of November: the

Tower of London

was also broken:

but the most surprising event was, its breaking down part of the church wall of

St. Mary-le-Bow

, in

Cheapside

, (whereby

two

men were killed,) and, raising the roof, carried it a considerable way; when it fell with such violence, that

six

of its rafters, of

26

feet in length each, were forced into the ground above

20

feet deep, and in the same position as they stood on the church. This relation would seem very incredible, were it not for the concomitant circumstances: for,

1

. the ground whereon the roof pitched was of a moorish nature.

2

. The streets were then unpaved. And,

3

. The uncontested authority of those grave and faithful historians, who lived at that time.

years after, another great fire happened in this city, which destroyed a great part thereof.

William II. in the year , exacted vast sums of money in all parts of the kingdom, towards the carrying on his works at the , Hall, and in rebuilding of anew with wood, which some time before (in ) had been carried away by a great land-flood.

On the decease of this King in , the throne was seized

53

by his younger brother, Henry, who was crowned at London within days afterwards; and, as a reward for the ready submission of the Londoners to his usurped authority, he granted to the city an extensive, charter of privileges. This is the earliest record that is known to exist, in which the ancient customs and immunities of London are particularly noticed. The contents of it are as follows:--

Henry, by the grace of God, king of England, to the bishop of Canterbury, and to the bishops and abbots, earls and barons, justices and sheriffs, and to all his faithful subjects of England, French and English, greeting. Know ye, that I have granted to my citizens of London, to hold Middlesex to farm for , upon account to them and their heirs; so that the said citizens shall place as sheriff whom they will of themselves; and shall place whomsoever, or such a as they will of themselves, for keeping of the pleas of the crown, and of the pleadings of the same, and none other shall be justice over the same men of London; and the citizens of London shall not plead without the walls of London for any plea. And be they free from scot and lot, and danegelt, and of all murder, and none of them shall wage battle: and if any of the citizens shall be impleaded concerning the pleas of the crown, the man of London shall discharge himself by his oath, which shall be adjudged within the city; and none shall lodge within the walls, neither of my household, nor any other, nor lodging delivered by force.

And all the men of London shall be quit and free, and all their goods, throughout England, and the ports of the sea, of and from all toll and passage and lestage, and all other customs; and the churches and barons and citizens shall and may, peaceably and quietly, have and hold their sokes with all their customs; so that the strangers that shall be lodged in the sokes, shall give custom to none but to him to whom the soke appertains, or to his officer, whom he shall there put: and a man of London shall not be adjudged in amerciaments of money, but of (I speak of the pleas which appertain to money); and further, there shall be no more miskenning in the hustings, nor in the folkemote, nor in any other pleas within the city; and the hustings may sit once in a week, that is to say, on Monday: and I will cause my citizens to have their lands, promises, bonds and debts, within the city and without; and I will do them right by the law of the city, of the lands of which they shall complain to me: and if any shall take toll or custom of any citizen of London, the citizens of London in the city shall take of the borough or town, where toll or custom was so taken, so much as the man of London gave for toll, and as he received damage thereby: and all debtors, which do owe debts to the citizens of London, shall pay them in London, or else discharge themselves in London that they owe none; but, if they will not pay the same, neither

54

come to clear themselves that they owe none, the citizens of London, to whom the debts shall be due, may take their goods in the city of London, of the borough, or town or of the county, wherein he remains who shall owe the debt: and the citizens of London may have their chaces to hunt, as well and fully as their ancestors have had, that is to say, in the Chiltre, and in Middlesex and Surrey.

Witness the bishop of Winchester, and Robert son of Richard, and Hugh Piggott, and Almer of Totness, and William of Albs-Prima, and Hubert Roger, Chamberlaine, and William de Mountfitchett, and Hangul Taney, and John Ballet, and Robert son of Steward of West.

On the death of Henry the , in , the crown was usurped by Stephen, who being assisted by the chief prelates and ecclesiastics, though in direct violation of their late oath to defend the rights of the Empress Maud, or Matilda, and by the citizens of London, met with little opposition to his claim in the metropolis.

In , a great fire happened in the city, which began at , and destroyed all the way westward to Danes: but Stow says, that the dreadful conflagration began in the house of Ailward, near London Stone, and consumed all the way east to , and west to St. Erkenwald's Shrine in ; both which it destroyed, together with , which was then of wood. By which accounts, this appears to have been the greatest casual fire that ever happened in this city before that time.

55

 

In the year , the citizens were obliged to pay to King Stephen of silver, for a right to chuse their own Sheriffs.

During the contest for empire between Stephen and the Empress, the Londoners were in general firm in their allegiance to Stephen; and, even after he had been made prisoner at the battle of Lincoln, in , by the Earl of Gloucester, they continued to support his cause. This greatly irritated the haughty Maud, who, on the ascendancy of her affairs,

This compact, next to that of Magna Charta, appears to have been the most solemnly executed of any that ever was entered into betwixt an English sovereign and a subject. The woful effects of which the Londoners soon after felt by sad experience; for by this agreement, they were divested of some of their most valuable privileges.

About this time, , a general council was summoned to meet at Winchester by the Pope's legate, (Henry, bishop of Winchester, and brother to Stephen,) as a preliminary measure to the recognition of the Empress as Queen of England; yet the deputies from the magistracy of London, and the barons who had retired thither, instead of assenting to the proposal, required that Stephen should be set at liberty, though without success.

During this transaction, the city was violently agitated by different factions; whereof was for giving way to the times; but the other strenuously insisted upon their adhering to their unfortunate king. The former prevailing, commissioners were sent to St. Albans to treat with the Empress about the surrender of the city; to which she was accompanied by David, King of

56

Scotland, her uncle, attended by a great number of the nobility, bishops, and others of the clergy, and was received into London by the citizens in a very pompous and solemn manner.

The extreme arrogance of Maud, and her disdainful refusal to revive the laws of Edward the Confessor, for which the citizens had petitioned, occasioned her to lose the crown that now seemed so fully within her grasp. The bishop of Winchester, who thought his own services were not enough rewarded, fomented the popular discontents so strongly, that a conspiracy was formed to seize the person of Maud in her palace; but she being timely apprised of the scheme, secured her safety by flight. Soon afterwards, she was besieged in Winchester by Stephen's adherents, of whom the Londoners composed the chief body; and Robert, the brave Earl of Gloucester, her natural brother, having been made prisoner, was subsequently exchanged for the King. Through this event, and the steady assistance of the Londoners, Stephen obtained a complete ascendancy; yet the , which had been fortified for Geffrey, Earl of Essex, held out till , when that nobleman having been made prisoner at St. Albans, was obliged to consent to its being given up, together with his castles of Walden and Plessy. In , a council was held by Stephen in this city, for the purpose of securing the accession of Eustace, his son; but the opposition and subsequent flight of the archbishop of Canterbury, and some

other bishops,

prevented the fulfilment of the King's design: Stow says it was defeated by the

subtil policy of Thomas Becket,

who thus early began to display that contumacious spirit which distracted the kingdom in the following reign.

Madox has stated the value of commodities at this time. The price of an ox was the same for a labouring horse; a sow ; a sheep with fine wool ; ditto with coarse wool It appears also that in the of Henry II. cows and bulls were sold for of the money of those times; sheep sold for ; oxen for ; brood mares for ; and hogs for The interest of money was at the rate of per cent.; but the Jews exacted an interest still more exorbitant. This may, in some degree, account for the rancour of the vulgar against that people whenever occasion offered.

In the year of Henry II. the citizens of London paid the King, for their , the sum of

In the year following, the citizens of London, with Gervase de , (I suppose of the sheriffs at that time), paid the King the sum of , being the of the city: and, in the of the same reign, the citizens paid the King a of towards his expedition to Ireland: and, in the

57

and years of the said prince, the citizens paid a of for each of the said years.

These s Mr. Maitland seems to consider as so many free gifts of the citizens, in lieu of tallages.

Henry II. is stated to have granted to the citizens, a charter confirmatory, &c. of the performed by his grandfather, Henry I. After recapitulating the principal heads of his grandfather's charter, he proceeds as follows:--

Furthermore also, for the advancement of the said city, I have granted to them that they shall be free and quit of bridtoll, childwite, jeresgive, and scotall; so as the sheriff of London, or any other bailiff, may take no scotall.

Mr. Brayley, with good ground, seems to doubt the authenticity of this charter, which bears no date. Among the witnesses, are, , bishop of London, , bishop of Bath, , bishop of Exon, and , the chief justiciary. Now as Henry came to the throne in , and Richard de Lucy died in , it is evident that the charter, if genuine, must have been given some time within the period bounded by those years; yet, on referring to Godwin, Le Neve, Newcourt, &c. it will be found, that the only bishops of London who lived at the time so limited, were and ; the only bishops of Bath, and ; and the only bishops of Exeter, These discrepancies, with others that might be suggested, seem effectually to disprove the validity of the charter under notice. Indeed, Henry II. does not appear to have held the city in any great degree of favor; as we learn from Madox, that several large sums were paid by the citizens at different times, under the name of s, or free-gifts, but which should rather be regarded as forced benevolences.

The great imperfections in the police of the metropolis in this reign, may be estimated from the following passage, given in Stow's Annals, from Roger Hoveden, and Walter of Coventry.--

Anno 1175. A brother of the Earle Ferrers was in the night privily slaine at London, which when the King understood, hee sware that hee would be avenged on the citizens: for it was then a common practice in the citie, that an hundred or more in a companies of yong and olde, would make nightly invasions upon the houses of the wealthy, to the intent to robbe them; and if they found any man stirring in the citie within the night, they would presently murther him: in so much, that when night was come, no man durst adventure to walke in the streets. When this had continued long, it fortune that a crew of yong and wealthy citizens assembling together in the night, assaulted a stone house of a certain rich man, and breaking through the wall, the goode man of that house having prepared himself, with others, in a corner, when hee perceived one of the theeves, named Andrew Burquinte to leade the way, with a burning brand in the one hande, and a potte of coales in the other, which he assayed to kindle with the brande, he fiewe upon him, and smote off his right hande, and then with a loud voyce cryed Theeves, at the hearing whereof the theeves took their flight, all saving hee that had lost his hande, whome the good man in the next morning delivered to Richard de Lucy, the king's Justice. This theefe upon warrant of his life, appeached his confederates, of home manie were taken, and many were fledde; but among the rest that were apprehended, a certayne citizen of great countenance, credite, and wealth, surnamed John the Olde, when hee coulde not acquite himselfe by the water-dome [water-ordeal] offered the king for his life five hundred markes; but the king commanded that he shoulde be hanged, which was done: and the citie became more quiet.

In , the building of a new bridge of stone was commenced at London, at a short distance westward from the wooden bridge; yet it was not completed till the year , of King John.

In a curious Tract written about , by Fitz-Stephen, a monk of Canterbury, intituled, , is an interesting picture of the metropolis, and its customs, in Henry the 's time. According to this author, the city was then bounded on the land-side by a high and spacious wall, furnished with turrets, and double gates; and had in the east part

a tower palatine,

and in the west castles well fortified. Further westward, about miles, on the banks of the river, was the Royal Palace, (at ,)

an incomparable structure, guarded by a wall and bulwarks.

Between this and the city was a continued suburb, mingled with large and beautiful gardens and orchards belonging to the citizens, who were themselves every where known, and respected above all others, for their

civil demeanour, their goodly apparel, their table, and their discourse.

The number of conventual churches in the city, and its suburbs, was , besides

lesser parochial ones.

On the north side were open meadow

59

and pasture lands; and beyond, a great forest, in whose woody coverts lurked

the stag, the hind, the wild boar, and the bull.

With the principal churches were connected, by

privilege and ancient dignity,

famous schools;

and other schools had been established in different parts: upon holidays the scholars

flocking together about the church where the master hath his abode,

were accustomed to argue on different subjects, and to exercise their abilities in oratorical discourses. The handicraftsmen, the venders of wares, and the labourers for hire, were every morning to be found at their distinct and appropriated places, as is still common in the bazars of the east; and on the river's bank was a public cookery and eating place, belonging to the city, where,

whatsoever multitude,

and however daintily inclined, might be supplied with proper fare. Without of the gates also, in a certain plain field (Smithfield) on every Friday, unless it be a solemn festival, was

a great market for horses, whither earls, barons, knights, and citizens, repair, to see and to purchase.

To this city

merchants bring their wares from every nation under heaven. The Arabian sends his gold; the Sabeans, spice frankincense; the Scythians, armour; Babylon, its oil; Egypt, precious stones; India, purple vestments; Norway and Russia, furs, sables, and ambergrease; and Gaul, its wine.

I think there is no city that hath more approved customs; either in frequenting the churches, honouring God's ordinances, observing holidays, giving alms, entertaining strangers, fulfilling contracts, solemnizing marriages, setting out feasts and welcoming the guests, celebrating funerals, or burying the dead.--The only plagues are, the intemperate drinking of foolish people, and the frequent fires.

--

Most of the bishops, abbots, and nobility, of England, have fair dwellings in London, and often resort hither.

Fitz-Stephen gives a curious account of the morts and pastimes of the period:

London,

he says, in allusion to the exhibitions and sports of ancient Rome,

instead of theatrical interludes, and comic shows, hath plays on more sacred subjects, as the miracles wrought by holy confessors, or the glorious constancy displayed by suffering martyrs.--Besides these diversions, to begin with the sports of youth, seeing that we were all once children, the boys of every school do yearly, at Shrove-tide, bring game-cocks to their masters, and all the forenoon is spent at school in seeing these cocks fight together. After dinner, all the youths of the city go into the fields to play at ball. The scholars of every school have their balls; and the teachers also, that train up others to feats and exercises, have each of them their ball. The aged and wealthy citizens ride forth on horseback to see the sports of these youngsters, and feel the ardour of their own youth revive in beholding their agility and mirth.

Every Friday Some copies of Fitz-Stephen's read Sunday.--Brayley's Lond. i 123. afternoon in Lent, a company of young men ride out on horses fit for war and racing, and trained to the course. Then the citizens' sons flock through the gates in troops, armed with lances and shields, and practice feats of arms; but the lances of the more youthful are not headed with iron. When the king lieth near, many courtiers and young striplings from the families of the great, who have not yet attained the warlike girdle, resort to these exercises. The hope of victory inflames every one; even the neighing and fierce horses shake their joints, chew their bridles, and cannot endure to stand still. At length, they begin their race: afterwards the young men divide their troops, and contend for mastery.

In the Easter holidays they counterfeit a fight on the water: a pole is set up in the midst of the river, with a target strongly fastened to it, and a young man standing in the fore part of a boat, which is prepared to be carried on by the flowing of the tide, endeavours to strike the target in his passage: in this, if he succeeds so as to break his lance, and yet preserve his footing, his aim is accomplished; but if he fail, he tumbleth into the water, and his boat passeth away with the stream; on each side of the target, however, ride two vessels, with many young men ready to snatch him from the water, as soon as he again appeareth above the surface.

On the bridge and convenient places about the river, stand numerous spectators to behold the diversions, well prepared for laughter.

On all the summer holidays, the youths are exercised in leaping, shooting with the bow, wrestling, casting stones, and darting the javelin, which is fitted with loops for the purpose; they also use bucklers, like fighting men; the maidens dance with timbrels, and trip it as long as they can well see. In winter, on almost every holyday before dinner, the boars fight for their heads, or else some lusty bull or huge bear is baited with dogs.

When the great moorish lake on the north side of the city wall is frozen over, great companies of young men go to sport upon the ice. Some taking a run, and setting their feet at a distance from each other, and their body sideways, slide a long way; others make seats as great as mill-stones of the ice, and one sitting down, is drawn along by his fellows who hold each other's hands; and in going so fast, they sometimes all fall down together. Those who are more expert, fasten bones to their shoes, (as the tibia of some animals,) and impelling themselves forward by striking the ice with staves shod with iron, do glide along as swiftly as a bird through the air, or as a dart from a warlike engine. Sometimes, two persons, starting from a distance, run against each other with these staves, as if they were at tilt, whereby one or both of them are thrown down, not without bodily hurt; and, after their fall, are, by the violent motion, carried onward, and grazed by the ice; and if one fall upon his leg or arm, it is usually broken: yet our youth, who are greedy of honour, and emulous of victory, doe thus exercise themselves in counterfeit battles, that they may sustain the brunt more strongly when they come to it in good earnest.

Many citizens take delight in birds, as sparrow-hawks, gos-hawks, &c. and in dogs to sport in the woody coverts; for they are privileged to hunt in Middlesex, in Hertfordshire, in all the Chilterns, and in Kent as low as Cray-water.

We are also told by Fitz-Stephen, but evidently through mistake or exaggeration, that, in the wars of King Stephen,

there went out to a muster,

from this city, of

men fit for war,

20,000

armed horsemen, and

60,000

foot.

The more probable fact is, that the muster was a general , and that London was only the place of rendezvous.

Many artizans of divers arts and mysteries of London having erected themselves into Fraternities or Companies, without the necessary powers of incorporation, were, therefore, opprobriously denominated Adulterine Guilds, and amerced to the king for their illegal and and presumptuous proceedings, as follows: viz.

The Gild whereof Gosceline was Alderman or President, thirty marks; Gilda Aurifabrorum, or Goldsmiths, Radulphus Flael, Alderman, forty-five marks; Gilda de Holiwell, Henry, son of Godr. Alderman, twenty shillings; Gilda Bocheiorum, William la Feite, Alderman, one mark; Gilda de Ponte, Thomas Cocus, Alderman, one mark; Gilda Piperariorum, Edward--, Alderman, sixteen marks; Gilda de Ponte, Alwin Fink, Alderman, fifteen marks; Gilda Panariorum, John Maurus, Alderman, one mark; Robert Rochfolet, his Gild, one mark; Richard Thedr. Feltrarius, Alderman, two marks; Gilda de Sancto Lazaro, Radulph de Barre, Alderman, twenty-five marks; Gilda de Ponte, Robert de Bosio, Alderman, ten marks; Gilda Peregrinorum Warner le Turner, Alderman, forty shillings; Odo Vigil, Alder. man, his Gild, one Mark; Hugo Leo, Alderman, his Gild, one mark; and Gilda de Ponte, Peter, son of Alan, Alderman, fifteen marks.

On the coronation of Richard the , surnamed Coeur de Lion, in , a sad massacre of the Jews who were settled in London was made by the brutal and ignorant populace. On the preceding day, , Richard had given orders that neither Jews nor women should be present at the solemnity,

for feare,

says Stow,

of enchantments, which were wont to be practised;

yet, either through the strong impulse of curiosity

62

or from a desire to conciliate the favour of the new sovereign by rich gifts, a number of Jews assembled at , and endeavoured to gain admittance into the Abbey Church; and being repulsed by the royal domestics, a rumour spread through the surrounding multitude, that the king had commanded them to be put to death; and, under this impression,

the unruely people falling uppon the Jewes with staves, battles, and stones, beate them to their houses, and, after assayling them therein, sette them on fire and burnt them in their houses, or slewe them at their coming out.

On the following day, however, the ringleaders in this dreadful tumult were apprehended, and immediately executed by Richard's order. At the coronation feast, as appears from Hoveden and Diceto, who were eye-witnesses of the ceremony,

the citizens of London officiated as the king's butlers, and those of Winchester served up the meat.

The principal magistrate of London who was then styled the Bailiff, acted as chief butler.

Richard, soon after his coronation, resolving to execute the treaty his late father had concluded with the King of France, in respect to an expedition to Palestine, or the Holy Land, directed his precepts to Henry de , Sheriff of London, to provide a certain number of helmets, steel caps, shields, knives, spears, iron, cordevan, pavilions, and other military accoutrements; together with silken habits, mitres, caps, dalmatiques, coats, and wine for the king's use. And, towards defraying the vast expence of this great armament, Richard contrived all ways and means to raise money, by alienating the crown lands, and selling additional liberties to cities and towns; insomuch, that some of the nobility took the freedom to tell him, that he acted therein very much to his own dishonour, and to the great prejudice of his successors. To which he replied, that ; adding, .

The great and destructive fires which frequently happened in this city, to the great damage of the citizens, being chiefly occasioned by the houses built of wood, and thatched with straw or reeds; the court of the mayor and aldermen ordained, that all houses thereafter to be erected in London and the liberties thereof, should be built of stone, with party walls of the same, and covered with either slates or tiles, to prevent such dreadful calamities for the future. For which purpose was made the following order:

Henry Fitz-Alwine being then Mayor,

(admitted to the chief magistracy by the name of Bailiff, Rich. I. according to Arnold)

it was provided and ordained by the discreeter men of

the city, to appease contentions that might arise among neighbours in the city, upon inclosure between land and land, that

twelve

men, aldermen of the city, should be chosen in full husting, and there sworn that they would perform it, and come at the mayor's summons, unless hindered by some reasonable cause; and to be present with the mayor for executing the aforesaid business: and this was decided and confirmed in full hustenge.

By these Jurats were regulated the dimensions of party-walls, which were to be of stone, and at least feet in height, and in thickness. These commissioners were also to give directions about girders, windows, gutters, and wells.

When Richard left England on his expedition to the Holy Land, he entrusted the government of the kingdom to a Regency, of which Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, his favorite, was at the head. This prelate so disgusted all classes by his arrogance and tyrannic government, that in , a conspiracy was formed against his power, and he was summoned to appear before a great council of the nobility, bishops, and citizens of London, that had been convened to assemble in . The bishop, instead of complying, took refuge in the Tower, where he was besieged by Prince John, with the earls, barons, and citizens; but after night, he consented to relinquish all his castles, on being permitted to retire to the continent. The ready concurrence of the Londoners in this affair was so agreeable to the council, that the city was rewarded with a recognition and confirmation of all its ancient privileges.

reason of disgust, which the Londoners took at Lord Chancellor Longchamp, was, the encroachments he had made on their limits, in his works at the Tower. For, in encompassing the premises of that fortress with a wall and a ditch, he broke in, and deprived both the church of the Holy Trinity, the hospital of St. Catherine, and the city of London of their properties in an arbitrary manner. Having enclosed the square tower and the castle with an outward wall of stone embattled, he caused a deep ditch to be dug round, from the south-east point by the north side, to the south-west corner of the said wall, in order to environ it with the river Thames. In which work, the mill belonging to the hospital of St. Catherine, and standing on the place now called Irongate, was removed, and part of a garden, which they had let to the king at per annum, was laid waste. And a piece of ground next Smithfield, belonging to the priory of the Holy Trinity, without , worth half a mark per annum, was taken from it. And the city was deprived of all the ground from the White Tower to the postern gate.

64

 

On the return of Richard to England in , after his unjust imprisonment by that avaricious emperor Henry the , he was received into London with the greatest pomp and magnificence, and the inexpressible joy of the citizens. The richness of the cavalcade was so excessive, that it occasioned a German nobleman, who attended the king, inadvertently to say, that, had the emperor known the immense wealth of England, he would have insisted on a much greater ransom.

Richard, to wipe off the stain of his imprisonment, resolved to be crowned a time. At this coronation, the citizens of Winchester disputed with those of London, the right to the office of chief butler; though the same had been executed by the Londoners at the late coronation. But a free gift of to the king, obtained his confirmation of this privilege to the latter. Soon after, the king, in consideration of the good deportment of his loyal and faithful citizens of London, during his long absence, granted them a new charter, with additional privileges, and a full confirmation of all its liberties, rights, and immunities.

In the year , a great sedition arose in London, through the practices of William Fitz-Osbert, alias Long-beard, who

poore in degree, evill favoured in shape, but yet very eloquent, moved the common people to seeke liberties and freedom, and not to be subject to the rich and mightie; by which means he drew to him many great companies, and with all his power defended the poore men's cause against the rich:

fifty-two thousand

Londoners he allured to him to be at his devotion and commandement.

His opposition to some tax or tallage, which had been ordered to be levied on the people, but which he argued had been so unjustly proportioned, that the poor had to sustain nearly the entire burthen, had been the means of raising a commotion in , wherein many citizens lost their lives. This exciting alarm in the king's council, he was summoned before the Chief Justiciary, Archbishop Hubert, and he obeyed the summons, but was accompanied by such a multitude of his followers, that it was thought advisable to dismiss him with only a gentle admonition. Means, however, were employed to secure his person; yet, he effected his retreat to Bow Church, the steeple of which he had

fortified with munition and victualles.

He was now promised his life if he would quietly surrender; but he refused

to come foorth; whereby the Archbishop called together a great number of armed men, lest any stir should be made. The Saterday, therefore, being the Passion Sunday even, the steeple and church of Bowe were assaulted, and William and his accomplices taken, but not without bloodshed for he was forced by fire and smoake to forsake the church, and he was brought to the Archbishop in the Towre, where he was by the Judges condemned; and by the heeles drawn from thence to a place called the Elmes [without Smithfield] and there hanged with

nine

of

his fellowes.

After his death, and partly through the artifices of a designing priest, his relation, it was reported among the people that miracles were wrought at the place of his execution, insomuch that they steale away the gibbet whereon he was hanged, and pared away the earth that was be-bled with his blood, and kept the same as holy reliques to heale sick men.

These delusions were at length dispelled by the excommunication of the priest; and the publication of a life of Fitz-Osbert, in which his pretended virtues were contrasted with his

numerous villainies,

and all belief in his superior sanctity removed, by the exposure of his unhallowed conduct.

King Richard, in the year of his reign, granted to the citizens of London the following charter, for which they paid him the sum of :--

Richard, by the grace of God, King of England, Duke of Normandy, and Earl of Anjou; to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, sheriffs, stewards, castle-keepers, justices, constables, bailiffs, ministers, and all his faithful subjects, greeting.

Know ye all, that we, for the health of our soul, and for the soul's health of King Henry our father, and all our ancestors' souls, and also for the commonweal of our city of London, and of all our realm, have granted and steadfastly commanded, that all wares [wears] that are in the Thames be moved, wheresoever they shall be within the Thames: and that no wares be put any where within the Thames; also, we have clearly quit-claimed all that, which the keeper of our Tower of London was wont yearly to receive of the said wares. Wherefore, we will, and steadfastly command, that no keeper of the said Tower, at any time hereafter, shall exact any thing of any one, neither molest nor burthen, or any demand make of any person, by reason of the said wares: For it is manifest to us, and by our right reverend father, Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, and other our faithful subjects, it is sufficiently given us to understand, that great detriment and discommodity hath grown to our said city of London, and also to the whole realm, by occasion of the said wares: which thing, to the intent it may continue for ever firm and stable, we do fortify by the inscription of this present page, and the putting to our seal:

These being witnesses, John of Worcester, Hugh of Coventry, bishops; John, Earl of Moreton, Ralph, Earl of Chester, Robert, Earl of Leicester, William Earl of Arundel, William of St. Mary's Church, Peter, son of Hereb, and Matthew his brother, Simon of Ryma, Scherio de Quincero. Given by the hand of Eustace, dean of Salisbury, Vice-Chancellor, then agent at the isle of Audlyer, the fourteenth day of July in the eighth year of our reign.

In this charter the citizens of London are empowered to remove all wears out of the river Thames; by which nuisances, the navigation of that noble stream was greatly obstructed: and, as a farther encouragement to the citizens, the king resigned all his right and pretensions to the annual duties arising thereby, which were paid to the officers of his .

This is the charter by which the city claims its jurisdiction and conservancy of the river Thames:

In , Roger Blunt and Nicholas Ducket, Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, were, by the king, commanded to provide measures, gallons, iron rods, and weights, for standards, to be sent to the several counties of England. At the same time, so great a famine happened, that wheat was sold at eighteen shillings and the quarter.

On the decease of King Richard I. A.D. , his brother John, Earl of Moreton, succeeded to the throne, and immediately granted to the citizens of London charters.

By the , the citizens, besides having all their ancient rights and privileges confirmed to them, are exempted from the payment of all toll in the king's foreign dominions; for this the city paid the sum of .

By the , the citizens of London obtained a right to move all the wears in the rivers of Thames and Medway, with a power of inflicting a penalty of upon any person, that shall presume to erect any wear or wears in either of the said rivers.

By the charter, the citizens of London have the fee-farm of the sheriffwicks of London and Middlesex confirmed to them at the ancient rent, with an additional power of choosing their sheriffs.

In a charter granted by King John in , the guild or fraternity of Weavers were expelled the city; but for what offence is not mentioned.

This charter is the earliest published record in which the chief magistrate of London has the appellation of Mayor; though that title is said to have been assumed by Henry Fitz-Alwyn, as early as the of Richard Coeur de Lion. Fabian and Arnold, in their respective chronicles, affirm, that Fitz-Alwyn took the name of Mayor in , yet their statement is disproved by the above charter. The office of Chamberlain, which was yet in the crown, was purchased in , of the king, by William de St. Michael, for the sum of and the annual rent of . In the following year, the emperor Otho, the king's nephew, arrived in London, and was received by the citizens in a magnificent manner.

67

 

In , the Londoners not only made the king a present of , but likewise paid him , to be excused from the quinzieme, or , imposed upon merchants. However, they were soon after charged with the sum of , towards the king's expedition against the Scots. In this year, the chief magistrate of this city, at that time Henry Fitz-Alwyn, or, as Arnold in his Chronicle writes it, Heryson Alwyn, took the title of Mayer or Mayor, instead of Custos and Bailiff, under which names he had held that dignity for years successively.

In , the king's purveyor having bought a certain quantity of corn in London, Roger Winchester and Edmund Hardell, the sheriffs would not permit him to carry it off; which so highly incensed the king, that he sent a positive command to the council of the city (which consisted of and members,) to degrade and imprison the said sheriffs; which being done, in obedience to the royal precept, the said council sent a deputation to the king at Langley, to intercede for their unfortunate sheriffs, and to assure his majesty, that what they had done, was not out of any disrespect to him, but purely to prevent an insurrection, which was then threatened, and at that critical juncture might have proved dangerous to the royal affairs; which reason proved so satisfactory to the king, that he gave order for their immediate discharge.

In the year , King John summoned a Parliament to meet him at , or at his palace in parish, London; where he exacted of the clergy and religious persons, the sum of , and in particular from the white monks. The present hospital of stands on a part of that palace.

In , the city of London, together with all other parts of the kingdom, were, by the Bishops of London, Ely, and Worcester, interdicted by the order of Pope Innocent, for the king's not obeying his unjust and imperious command: whereupon, all churches and churchyards were shut up; divine service ceased in all places; there was no administration of sacraments, except to infants and dying persons; and, all ecclesiastical rites being omitted, the bodies of the dead were buried in the highways and ditches, without the performance of funeral service.

In this year, the king, upon some displeasure conceived against the Londoners, as a punishment for the offence, removed from to Northampton.

A. D. , the citizens, as an additional security to the city, began to encompass the wall thereof with a spacious and deep ditch, of feet wide; which, notwithstanding the

68

vast number of hands employed therein, took up years in making.

In , a dreadful calamity befel many of the inhabitants of London, through a fire which commenced at the bridge end in , and occasioned a destruction of lives almost unparalleled from such a cause. Stow relates this disaster in the following words.--

In the year

1212

, on--the

10th of July

, at night, a marvellous terrible chance happened, for the citie of London, upon the south side of the river of Thames, as also the church of our Ladie of the Chanons in Southwerke, being on fire, and an exceeding great multitude of people passing the bridge, eyther to extinguish and quench it, or els to gaze at and behold it, suddenly the north part, by blowing of the south winde, was also set on fire, and the people, which were even now passing the bridge, perceiving the same, would have returned, but were stopped by fire; and it came to passe, that as they stayed or protracted time, the other ende of the bridge also, namely the south ende, was fired, so that the people thronging themselves between

two

fires, did nothing else but expect present death; then came there to aide them many ships and vessels, into the which the multitude so unnaturally rushed, that the ships being drowned, they all perished. It was said, that through the fire and shipwracke, there were destroyed about

three thousand

persons, whose bodies were found in parte or half burned, besides those that were wholly burnt to ashes, and could not be found.

In the civil feuds, which marked the latter years of King John, the Londoners aided the barons, who had been compelled to take up arms in order to maintain the expiring liberties of the kingdom, as well as to defend their own domestic comforts and homes. Among the causes that gave offence to the citizens, was the demolition of Baynard's Castle,, which then belonged () to Robert Fitz Walter, Castellan and Standard-bearer to the city, whose daughter Maud, the Fair Maid of Essex, the king had sought to deflower.

Nicholas, the pope's legate, being arrived in London, to receive the king's submission, pursuant to a determination of the court of Rome, a convention of the states of the kingdom was held in , where, in presence of that great assembly, the king renewed his infamous subjection of the crown and kingdom of England and lordship of Ireland, to the insatiable and iniquitous pope Innocent; and the king's charter, which was at sealed with wax, and delivered to Pandulph the Legate, was now sealed With gold and delivered to Nicholas the Legate, for the use of the pope, and that of the Roman church.

In the year of King John, this city was tallaged at , towards taking off the national interdict.

69

About which time, the king granted the citizens his and last charter.

John, by the grace of God, King of England, Duke of Normandy, Aquitain, and Earl of Anjou; to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, sheriff, rulers, and to all his faithful subjects, greeting:--

Know ye, that we have granted, and by this our present writing confirmed, to our barons of our city of London, that they may choose to themselves every year a Mayor, who to us may be faithful, discreet, and fit for government of the city, so as, when he shall be chosen, to be presented unto us, or our justice (if we shall not be present): and he shall swear to be faithful unto us; and that it shall be lawful to them, at the end of the year, to amove him, and substitute another, if they will, or the same to retain, so as he be presented unto us, or our justice, if we shall not be present. We have granted unto the same our barons, and by this our present charter confirmed, that they well and in peace, freely, quietly, and wholly, have all their liberties, which hitherto they have used, as well in the city of London as without, and as well by water as by land, and in all other places, saving to us our chamberlainship. Wherefore, we will and streightly command, that our aforesaid barons of our aforesaid city of London may chuse unto themselves a Mayor of themselves, in manner and form aforesaid; and that they may have all the aforesaid liberties well and in peace, wholly and fully, with things to the same liberties appertaining, as is aforesaid.

Witness, the lords P. of Winton, William of Worcester, William of Coventry, bishops; William Brigword; Peter, son of Herbert; Godfrey d'Lucy; and John, son of Hugh. Given by the hands of Mr. Richard Harrister, our Chancellor, at the New Temple, &c.

About the same time, the Barons of England, having previously assembled at Bury St. Edmunds, and sworn at the high altar of the Abbey Church there, to obtain the re-establishment of the laws of Edward the Confessor, and the confirmation of the famous charter of Henry the , repaired to John at the New Temple, and made the demands required by their oath. The king declined giving an immediate answer, but appointed a time for that purpose; and the barons acquiesced in the delay, with a view to strengthen themselves in the interval for an appeal to arms, without which, it was evident they could not accomplish their design. At length the answer was given: it contained a contemptuous refusal, and the sword was drawn. The Londoners, in a secret negotiation, agreed to admit the barons, who instantly began their march for London; and, being arrived at Ware, marched from thence by night, and on the , early in the morning, during mass-time, entered the city at (be

70

fore the king received intelligence of their approach, notwithstanding his being then in the ); and having secured the gates with their own troops, fell to plundering the houses of the royalists and Jews, the latter of which they demolished; and with the stones thereof, with the utmost diligence, repaired the defects of the city wall; and, having got ready their military engines, laid siege to the Tower; and the king finding the defection of his partizans becoming general, consented to grant the whole of their demands; and, after a short negotiation, the meadow called Runnimede, between Staines and Windsor, was fixed on by both parties as the place for a final adjustment. In a few days afterwards, the king and the barons met on the appointed spot; and on the , the humbled monarch affixed his signature to those memorable records of British freedom, , and the ; by an article in the of which it was expressly stipulated, that

the City of London should have all its ancient privileges and free customs, as well by land as by water.

note-- The barons, having had frequent experience of the king's great insincerity, resolved upon taking all necessary precautions to oblige him to keep the treaty, and among other things they engaged him to leave them in possession of the city and ; notwithstanding which they soon found that neither oaths nor treaties were capable of binding John; who, soon repenting of what he had done, not only applied to the Pope for an absolution from his oath, but likewise to divers foreign princes for assistance, obliging himself, that, if by their help he should reduce his rebellious subjects, they should be put into immediate possession of all their lands. This promise had so great an effect upon soldiers of fortune, that in short time a vast number of men arrived from Normandy, Poictou, Gascony, Brabant and Flanders.

The barons, finding themselves not in a condition to withstand so great a power, retired to London, where they were soon overtaken by a thundering bull of excommunication from Rome, whereby all the confederate barons were excommunicated, and their lands interdicted, together with the city, that had joined them. But, whilst the barons and citizens seemed to despise the pope's thunderbolts, the king proceeded in ravaging and destroying all their lands and castles, by which they were reduced to a very deplorable condition; therefore, to be revenged of the king, they, with the Londoners, had recourse to a very desperate expedient, by inviting over Lewis, eldest son to Philip king of France, to whom they offered the crown. This overture was readily accepted by the French king, who immediately began

71

his preparations to invade England, on receiving hostages from the barons for the due fulfilment of their engagements. In the mean time, a body of John's troops, which had approached the city, was routed by the Londoners, and Saverie de Mallion, their commander, being much wounded, escaped with difficulty.

The Londoners also,

says Stow,

tooke the

65

ships of pirates, besides innumerable others that were drowned, that had besieged the river of Thamis.

On the arrival of Lewis, who, in , landed at Sandwich from a fleet of nearly vessels, the citizens received him with much pomp, and, with the barons,

swore fealty to him, after his solemn oath to restore to all their lost inheritances, and to the nation its ancient privileges.

Whether this oath would, or would not, have been observed, had success crowned his enterprize, is difficult to say: unless we give credit to what Matthew Paris and Knighton relate of the Viscount de Melun, of Lewis's principal confident,

who being seized with a mortal distemper in London, when at the point of death, disclosed to certain English barons, that the prince, in the event of his final triumph, had resolved to banish all the nobles that had opposed King John, as traitors to their country, and also to destroy their posterity.

Certain it is, that the barons had been very soon convinced of their imprudence in calling in foreign aid; and at the time of the king's death at Newark, in the October following, many of them were preparing to return to their allegiance. The accession of Henry the occasioned a still more important change in the state of affairs; and through the political conduct of William Mareschal, Earl of Pembroke, who was declared regent, the French prince was constrained to shut himself up in London, being blocked both by land and water, and ultimately to relinquish all his claims to the throne, and to quit the kingdom. He obtained pardon, however, for his English adherents, and conditioned that the city of London should retain all her ancient privileges. This attention to their interests was so gratifying to the citizens, that, on the departure of Lewis for France, they lent him to discharge his debts.

John is said to have been the monarch who coined what has since been denominated sterling or easterling money; which obtained this name from the circumstance of his sending for artists from the German states to rectify and regulate the silver coinage; gold coin not having yet been appropriated as a circulating medium of commerce.

It is curious to observe that an income of per annum, at the time we are describing, would have gone as far in housekeeping as of our present currency. Wheat was per

72

quarter, or about of our time; Rochelle wine per tun, Anjou wine , and the best French wine, at about , or about at present.

The manner of living during this period was grossly extravagant. Of the luxury of those times it will be sufficient to produce a single instance. Fitz-Stephen tells us, that an archbishop of Canterbury paid for a single dish of eels , amounting, according to the most moderate computation, to score-pounds of our money, but, in reality, to almost double that sum.

But the extravagance of the entertainments was compensated by the soberness of the hours. The time of dining, even at court, and in the families of the proudest barons, was in the morning, and of supping, in the afternoon. These hours were considered not only as favourable to business, but as conducive to health. The proverbial jingle of the day gives us a picture of the division of time in the and centuries:

Lever a cinq, diner a neuf,

Souper a cinq, coucher a neuf,

Fait vivre ans nonante et neuf.

 
 
Footnotes:

[] This is one of the most perfect specimens of Norman architecture in the kingdom. We shall notice it more particularly hereafter.

[] Chron. Sax. A. D. 1077.

[] Malms. de Vit. Will II. lib. 4.

[] Stow's Annals 178.

[] Malms. de Vit. Will. II. lib. 4

[] Flor. Wigorn. Chron.

[] Chron. Sax. 1097.

[] Stow's Ann. Matt. West. Flor. Hist.

[] Madox's Hist. Exch.

[] Will. Malmsb.

[] Will. Malmsb.

[] Stow's Ann. p. 208.

[] Bridtoll is a toll paid for passing of bridges; childwite is a fine taken of a bondswoman, for suffering herself to be got with child, without the consent of her lord or master; jeresgive is a bribe given to the King's, or other officers, for connivance, and being favorable in their several offices; and scotall were abuses put upon the King's subjects by his officers, who kept ale-houses, invited the people to drink, and fraudulently extorted money from them, under pretence of preventing their informing against them for some imaginary crime.-Maitland, i. 53

[] Cat. of Eng. Bishops.

[] Fas. Ecc. Angli.

[] Repertorium.

[] Brayley's London i. 120.

[] First printed in Stow's Survey, 1598.

[] Supposed to have been Aldgate, Bishopsgate, Cripplegate, Aldergate, Newgate, Ludgate, and a Postern near the Tower.

[] These were the Castles of Baynard and Montfichet.

[] Of this forest, Enfield-chace is a small remainder.

[] Brayley's London, i. 125.

[] Stow's Ann. p. 226.

[] Rog. Hov. p. 657. Bromp. p. 1159-60. Matt. Paris, p. 154.

[] Ran: Hig. Polych.

[] Stryp. Ed. Stow's Sur. 1191.

[] Madox. list. Excheq. 1180.

[] Bromp. p. 1225-6.

[] Entick.

[] Maitland's London, p. 38.

[] Madox. Hist. Excheq. 1198.

[] Tho. Wic. Chron.

[] Arnold states under the date 1280, that thirty-five men were chosen by the wise men of the city, and sworn to maintain the assizes in London.

[] Madox's Hist. Exch.

[] Matt. West. Flor. Hist.

[] Mad. Hist. Excheq. Arnold's Chron.

[] Matt. Par.

[] Stow's Sur. of London

[] Ibid, p.21, 22

[] Mad. Hist. Excheq. 1215.

[] Act Reg. Gualt. Cov. Chron.

[] Matt. Par. Hist. Angl.

[] Stow's Ann. 253.

[] Rapin 1.278.

[] Brayley's Lond. i. 133.

This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
ID:
mk61rt35d
Component ID:
tufts:UA069.005.DO.00066
To Cite:
DCA Citation Guide    EndNote
Usage:
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Preface
 Chapter I: History of London and its environs, from the earliest period of authentic record to the defeat of the Britons by Suetonius
Chapter II: Historical account of Roman London, with notices of remains discovered.
 Chapter III: History of London from the departure of the Romans till the time of the Conquest
 Chapter IV: History of London from the Conquest to the reign of Henry the Third
 Chapter V: History of London from the reign of Henry the Third to the reign of Edward the Second
 Chapter VI: History of London from the reign of Edward the Second to the reign of Richard the Second
 Chapter VII: History of London from the reign of Henry the Fourth to the reign of Edward the Fourth
 Chapter VIII: History of London from the reign of Edward the Fourth to the reign of Henry the Eighth
 Chapter IX: History of London during the reign of Henry the Eighth
 Chapter X: History of London from the reign of Edward the Sixth to the accession of Elizabeth
Chapter XI: History of London, during the reign of Elizabeth.
 Chapter XII: History of London during the reign of James the First
Chapter XIII: History of London during the Reign of Charles the First
 Chapter XIV: History of London during the Commonwealth and the reign of Charles the Second
 Chapter XV: History of London during the reign of James the Second