History of London from the Reign of Henry the Third to the reign of Edward the Second.
Immediately after the departure of Lewis, Henry, the young king, made his public entry into London in a pompous manner, where, to appearance, he was received with the greatest demonstrations of joy. But this was not sufficient to wipe off the dislike the court had conceived against the city, as may be discovered in the tyrannic proceedings of this reign.
In the citizens paid him the sum of , that they might not be questioned for selling a certain sort of cloth, that was not full yards within the list.
At the same time the forest of Middlesex being disforested, it gave the citizens an opportunity of purchasing land and building
|thereon, whereby the suburbs of the city were greatly increased; at which time the king wrote to the sheriffs of London to repair the prison of Newgate, and the money disbursed by them should be allowed in their accounts. Which shews that this gaol was not then under the direction of the city. And in the same year the citizens paid the king a of their personal estates, for the enjoyment of their ancient rights and immunities.|
Proclamation was made in London A. D. , strictly enjoining all foreigners whatsoever, merchants excepted, to depart the kingdom by Michaelmas following. At the same time the citizens of Cologne, who were merchants and members of the Anseatic Corporation in London, paid the king , to have seisin or possession of their in the city, which stood where now the Still-yard is in .
The year furnished the court with a plausible pretence to carry their resentment into execution against the Londoners; the event is thus related by our historians: A great wrestling match being held without London, at Matilda's Hospital, now St. Giles in the Fields, on St. James's day, between the citizens and the inhabitants of the adjacent villages, the Londoners obtained the victory from the people of , who being thus exposed to the raillery of the conquerors, sought an insidious and base revenge. The steward of the Abbot of (who it is to be presumed, vainly imagined that his master's or his own honour was thereby affected) meditating revenge against the Londoners, perfidiously appointed another wrestling match to be held at , on the following, and as an encouragement, gave a ram for the prize; thither the citizens, at the time prefixed, resorted in great numbers, when to their great surprise, instead of diversion, which they went for, they found themselves betrayed in a most cowardly and villainous manner, and set upon by a great number of armed men, appointed for that purpose, who cruelly beat and wounded many of them, and put the rest to flight.
This treachery occasioned great commotions in the city, where the populace being assembled, they breathed nothing but vengeance; insomuch that Serle Mercer, then mayor, though a wise and prudent magistrate, was not able to restrain their fury; for Constantine Fitz-Arnulph, an eminent citizen, who had been a great favourer of the French during the late troubles, putting himself at the head of the mob, told them, that the best way to revenge themselves upon the abbot and his steward, would be to pull down their houses; whereby they would be made
| sensible that the citizens of London were not to be affronted with impunity. This advice being approved of, he led them to , crying with a loud voice, |
; and, having pulled down several houses belonging to the abbot and his steward, returned to London in triumph.
The Abbot of , who afterwards repaired to the city to complain of the loss he had sustained, was himself insulted, and with great difficulty effected his escape by water. When the tumult was appeased, the Chief Justiciary, Hubert, came with an armed force to the Tower, and summoning the Mayor and principal citizens before him, inquired for the authors of the late riot. Fitz-Arnulph, who was present, with a boldness worthy of a better cause, avowed himself to be ; and said, that
Hubert, highly incensed at this speech, ordered Constantine to be hanged on the following morning; though, when the latter
he offered the enormous sum of to have his life spared. With him were executed his nephew, and Geoffrey.
The executions being over, the Justiciary repaired to the city, attended by a strong guard, where he apprehended many of the principal rioters, and, in a most inhuman and arbitrary manner, caused the hands or feet of most of them to be cut off.
These citizens with the former suffered without any manner of legal proceedings, or form of trial. Hubert, thinking that he had not sufficiently punished the city by those dreadful severities, (for which he was ever afterwards rendered justly odious to the citizens) degraded the mayor and all the magistrates, set a Custos over the city, and obliged persons of his own chusing to become security for the citizens good behaviour; which the community of the city not only confirmed by charter under their common seal, but likewise promised to surrender either or all of the sureties, when demanded; and in case of mortality, to fill up the vacancies with other persons of worth. This was the beginning of the grievous sufferings of this city, under the intolerable government of Henry III. And besides the punishments above-mentioned, Henry, before he would restore their privileges compelled the citizens, with
Some time after, A. D. , the states of the kingdom being assembled in parliament at London, and the arbitrary and cruel
|proceedings exercised against the Londoners, as above, making them apprehensive that they were to expect no better treatment in this, than in the former reign; therefore, to obviate the like practices for the future, they addressed the king, that he would be pleased to confirm the charter of liberties which he had sworn to observe. Which he at last agreeing to, it may be remarked, that this good action was the result of evil.|
Next year Henry exempted the citizens from all prosecutions on- account of burels or listed cloth, notwithstanding an ordinance newly made to the contrary; and in the parliament held at in the same year, the Magna Charta, or great charter of liberties was confirmed; in the chapter of which all the ancient rights and privileges of the city of London are ratified. This clause cost the citizens a of all their personal estates. At the same time the king granted the commonalty of the city a right to have a common seal.
Henry had no sooner assumed the reins of government, than he began to shew himself in his proper colours, and to act the tyrant with a high hand. The attempt he made was upon the citizens of London, by extorting from them , declaring, as they had given (lent) Lewis, his enemy, that sum, they should likewise give him the same; which they were obliged to do. However, he granted charters (on condition of paying him a of their personal estates.) of these charters were confirmatory only of the grants of his predecessors. And by the divers privileges are conferred on the citizens in the disforested warren of Staines. At the same time the king granted that each of the sheriffs should have clerks and serjeants.
Exactions still continued, for the king, in the year , commanded a tallage to be assessed on the city, partly by a poll-tax, and partly upon the several wards, which was collected by the respective aldermen. The assessment upon the wards appears to have been discretionary; for some of the principal citizens were rated at and , and others at ; and William Fitz-Adams at . The sum raised in London upon this occasion is not mentioned by the historians of that time. However, they all agree that it was very great, and that the same was exacted from the citizens by way of ransom;
|perhaps for recovering the king's favour, for some pretended crime committed by their predecessors.|
Soon after, viz on day, as Roger Niger, bishop of London, was celebrating mass in , there happened a very terrible storm of thunder and lightning, attended with a great darkness, and a most obnoxious smell; whereby both the clergy and laity, some thousands in number, were so greatly terrified, that in a tumbling manner, they made the best of their way over another out of the church, leaving their bishop, with only deacon to attend him. About the same time it was by the magistrates of London ordained, that for the future the sheriffs should continue no longer in office than year, thereby to prevent their imposing upon their fellow-citizens, by extorting money from them; as also their taking bribes of victuallers.
Some time after, a great fire happened, which destroyed a great part of the city. And about the same time, the citizens were compelled to purchase the king's favour with the sum of . The cause of their disgrace does not appear. In the same year their bitter enemy, Hubert de Burgh, Chief Justiciary, was degraded from his offices, and accused of so many crimes, that seeing is ruin was determined on, he took sanctuary at Merton Priory in Surrey, where, having refused to obey the summons sent him to appear, and answer to the articles exhibited against him, the king was thereby so highly incensed, that he commanded proclamation to be made in London, that all persons should immediately apply to him for justice, and Henry, with great impetuosity, ordered the Mayor of London to force him from his sanctuary, either dead or alive; the citizens, glad of this opportunity to be revenged on their cruel and implacable enemy, immediately flocked together to the number of , and were with great difficulty prevailed on to disperse, when the King, in his cooler moments, had been induced to countermand his order. Soon afterwards, however, they had the pleasure of seeing the object of their hatred conveyed to the Tower in chains, amidst the shouts of a triumphing populace.
In , Walter le Bruin, a farrier, had a piece of ground granted him in , in the parish of Danes, wherein to erect a forge, he rendering at the exchequer annually for the same a quit-rent of horse-shoes, with the nails thereunto belonging; which was twice paid there in the reign of Edward I. and is still rendered annually at the exchequer at this time, by the mayor and citizens of London, for the said piece of ground, which was granted them some ages ago; though at present lost
In , Henry, with Eleanor, his queen, whom he had just married at Canterbury, made a public entry into London on the day appointed for the queen's coronation.
In , Baldwin, the Greek Emperor, arrived at London, where he was received in a very pompous manner by the mayor and citizens. But their mirth was much abated by the following accident: Otto, the Pope's Legate, being at Oxford, a poor Irish student went into his kitchen to ask some relief for God's sake; but, instead of administering to his wants, the barbarous cook (the Legate's kinsman) threw a ladle full of hot broth into his face, in the presence of a Welsh student; who was so highly irritated at this cruel and barbarous action, that having a bow in his hand, he let fly at the cook, and killed him on the spot. This, with other outrageous treatment the scholars had received from the Legate's domestics, occasioned a great tumult among the students; and the Legate, apprehensive of his own danger, fled to a church steeple, until he found means to escape under the cover of the following night: but, being recovered from his fright, he interdicted the university, and excommunicated all that were concerned in the riot. So that the heads of several colleges, with their scholars, were obliged to repair to , London, and thence to walk to Durham-house (the Legate's palace) in , undressed, bare-headed, and bare-footed; where, but not without the intercession of many persons of the greatest distinction, they obtained absolution.
In the year , the king's son was born at ; on which occasion great rejoicings were made in all parts of the kingdom; but more especially by the Londoners, who expressed their joy by playing upon sundry sorts of musical instruments, and dancing in every street, and at night all the streets were illuminated in a very extraordinary manner. But nothing, could engage the king's affections; for, upon complaint of Symond Fitz-Mary, who had, previous to the election of sheriffs,
|purchased of the king a mandamus, directed to the mayor and aldermen, for causing him to be chosen sheriff for the year ensuing, the magistrates, who wisely considered that this injunction was derogatory to the rights and immunities of the citizens, and chose a person of much greater merit to that office, were not only severely reprimanded for their not obeying the precept, but Henry as a test of his resentment, degraded William Joyner, the new mayor, and commanded them to proceed to a new election. The citizens in obedience to this command, chose Gerard Batt; by whose good deportment the city regained the king's favours; or, at least Henry pretended to be reconciled to the city, to bring the citizens into a humour to swear fealty to his son Edward. At which time, Thomas, Earl of Flanders, the queen's uncle, arrived at London, where he was received by the citizens in a very magnificent manner.|
This year the Jews of Norwich were severely punished for circumcising a Christian child; and those in London, though innocent, were for the same crime obliged to pay the king , or be condemned to perpetual imprisonment.
Gerard Batt was rechosen mayor of the city in , and presented to the king at Woodstock for his acceptance; but rejected on an information brought against him for extorting money from the bakers, brewers, and other victuallers, until better informed; and when presented to him a time for acceptance at , and found guilty of extorting from the victuallers, in his former mayoralty, and unwilling to make restitution, the king was so highly enraged, that he swore that Batt should not then, nor at any time thereafter, be mayor of the city, and commanded the citizens to proceed to a new election; who elected Reyner de Burgay, or Reynold Bongay, who was presented, accepted, and sworn in accordingly.
About this time, certain fortifications, which were added to the in the year and had cost the king above , and the citizens much uneasiness, fell down and were destroyed, to the great satisfaction of the citizens, who were told the said buildings were erected as prisons for such as should contend for the liberties of the city.
In , a tallage was raised, the greatest part by the Londoners. Just after, Beatrice, the Countess of Provence, and mother to the queen, was received at London with an incredible magnificence, being attended by Cincia, her daughter, bride to Richard the king's brother, whose nuptials were soon after solemnized with the greatest pomp and feasting; for at the wedding dinner, Matthew Paris says, there were no less than dishes.
In , Henry extorted from the citizens of London , on pretence of their having admitted into the city, Walter Buckerel, who had been banished for years; though the Londoners offered to prove that the king, by his letters patent, had pardoned the criminal long before. The king, as if to make amends to the citizens for the great injustice he had done, in the succeeding year repaired to , (before he set out on his expedition to Wales) and in a familiar and affectionate manner, bade the citizens adieu. Soon after, there was a fresh demand of ; added to which, the city charter was forfeited for a false judgment given by the magistrates against Margaret Veil, a poor widow. The said magistrates being degraded, William Haverell and Edward of were appointed of the city.
In the of his reign Henry commanded the mayor and sheriffs, upon the oaths of worthy citizens, to chuse of the best arts in the city for the king's , or Keeper of the Mint, in the room of Walter le Fleming, deceased. Whereupon they chose John Hasdell; who being presented by the sheriffs at , was there sworn admitted.
This same year, as appears by a charter, the mayor and commonalty of London purchased of Richard Earl of Cornwall, the king's brother, his fee-farm of in Thamesstreet, with all the rights, customs and appurtenances thereunto belonging. For which they were to pay to the said earl, his heirs and successors for ever, a quit-rent of per annum. The articles of which agreement were confirmed by the king.
On St. Valentine's eve, ,
In , Henry having been denied pecuniary aid at a Parliament held at , in which he was plainly told, that
and when he was afterwards informed, that the Londoners had purchased them, he exclaimed passionately,
--As a means, therefore, of lessening the affluence of those
he soon after devised the expedient of granting a days annual fair to the Abbot of , to be held at Tuthill, or Tothill, (now ,) strictly commanding that during that time
All remonstrances were ineffectual; and so far was he from attending to the complaints made on this occasion, that he gave fresh marks of his displeasure by keeping his Christmas in the succeeding year in London, and compelling the citizens to present him with valuable new year's gifts. Yet even these were not sufficient to satisfy his rapacity, and the city was soon afterwards constrained to give him the sum of sterling.
At length, in , Henry, alarmed by a short-lived fear, commanded the chief citizens to attend him in Hall, and there, in presence of his nobility, he promised never more to oppress them by grievous taxations. But all this was mere farce; and seems rather a snare to lull the citizens into a state of security, till a more proper opportunity offered to plunder them; which he soon found.
About this time Simon Fitz-Mary, who had disgusted the city in the year , by purchasing the office of sheriff from the king, as above, and now of the aldermen, was degraded from the office of alderman, for being principally concerned in the unjust verdict given against Margaret Veil, in the year , and for his other mal-practices, to the great dishonour of the city.
Henry began with the Italian usurers in London, who, to their great advantage, (for a long time) carried on an illicit trade of usury with impunity; for, calling themselves the Pope's merchants, the clergy durst not interfere; and as they were protected by many of the nobility, the citizens were afraid to call them to account. But at last the king, determining not to allow any person to prey upon his subjects (beside himself) without paying for it, commanded the said usurers to be prosecuted for their illegal and intolerable extortions. Several of whom being apprehended and committed to prison, the rest took sanctuary, until they could accommodate matters with the king; who, upon giving him a considerable sum, were allowed to carry on their clandestine and destructive commerce in the city as formerly. Hence it is observable, that at that time it was all , whether innocent or guilty, provided the person accused had but money to purchase his peace of the king. Then causing the citizens of London, by proclamation, to be summoned to attend him at , he proposed to them the undertaking the Crusade, or Holy War; to which they shewed no great inclination; for, only of the whole number undertook the same, viz. Richard de Gray, John de Gray, and J. Plexeto. These the king lovingly embraced and kissed, calling them his brethren;
| opprobriously upbraiding the rest of the citizens for a parcel of |
for rejecting the same. And as a farther evidence of his resentment, in an arbitrary and tyrannical manner, he compelled them to give him in gold, which was then in silver; and obliged them to keep all the shops in the city shut, and to go to the above-mentioned fair at , there to expose their persons and goods to the inclemency of the weather in the midst of winter; and to pay per day for the maintenance of his white bear and its keeper in the . This, with other mal-treatment, occasioned such heart-burnings and discontents in the city, as produced such an aversion to the king, of which he and his friends, to their cost, soon after experienced the woeful effects. But the king sought further occasion to oppress them; and having commanded certain of his domestics to interrupt the young citizens in their diversions at the Quintain, where a peacock was appointed for the prize, and to provoke them to blows by scurrilous and opprobrious language, his majesty, having got what he wanted, viz. a pretence to extort money from the citizens, compelled them to make satisfaction by the payment of . And soon after the sheriffs were, by a writ of exchequer, commanded to distrain the citizens for the queen's gold.
About the same time, the sheriffs received a precept from the court, to provide a muzzle, an iron chain, and a cord, for the king's white bear, and to build a stall and provide necessaries for the elephant and his keeper, in the .
A difference happening between Earl Richard, the king's brother, and the citizens, concerning the exchange of certain lands, another opportunity offered to extort more money : for Richard resented it to such a degree, that he accused the mayor of remissness in not punishing the bakers for their villainous practices in making defective bread; for which neglect the city liberties were seized, and a set over it, who continued in that office till the citizens had compromised matters with the Earl, by paying him the sum of ; and more to the king, on colour of granting a charter, in which the ancient rights and immunities of the citizens are not only confirmed, but likewise an additional privilege granted them, whereby they, in absence of the king, may present their new mayor to the Barons of the exchequer yearly; whereas formerly they were obliged to repair to the king's residence, in any part of England, to present their chief magistrate; and besides, the king allowed the sheriffs of London per annum, to be annually paid at passing their accounts at the exchequer, for a piece of ground formerly belonging to the city, but then annexed to .
The king being arrived at from Gascony, the Londoners, as usual, sent a deputation to congratulate him upon his safe arrival, and to present him with the sum of , as was customary on such occasions. Henry, instead of thanking them, said, it was no more than his due, and that, if they would merit his thanks, they must give him something of greater value. The citizens, unwilling to disoblige such an avaricious prince, presented him with a valuable piece of plate of exquisite workmanship, with which he seemed well pleased.
To particularize at any length all the numerous extortions and oppressions inflicted by Henry upon the city, would occupy too extensive a space; it must be stated briefly, therefore, that in addition to the various vexations the city was forced to undergo, previously mentioned, in , the sheriffs were imprisoned and degraded, and the citizens amerced in the sum of : in , they were amerced in the additional sum of , and the mayor was deposed; and in , the mayor and chief citizens were imprisoned for their concern in the late troubles, and forced to pay large sums for their ransom.
In , the price of corn was so excessive, that a partial famine ensued, and according to a report recorded in the chronicles of Evesham, persons died of hunger in London only in the course of this year. Matthew Paris attributes this calamity as much to the want of money, as to the scarcity of provisions; the vast sums that had been exacted by the king and by the pope, having completely drained the country. No less than sterling, is said to have been carried out of the kingdom this year, by Earl Richard, when he went to be crowned king of the Romans.
The multiplied extortions of the king had now so completely alienated the affections of his people, that the Statutes of Oxford were framed by the barons to restrain his power; and the citizens soon afterwards became a party in those celebrated provisions, by binding themselves under their common seal, as well as by oath, to see them duly fulfilled. Immediately after, they made proclamation, in divers parts of the city, that the
In the following year (), Henry, before his departure for France, to sign the treaty of Abbeville, caused a Folkmote to be assembled at Cross, where he told the citizens that he would
at the same time, he enjoined the mayor to pay particular regard to the peace of the city during his absence. At another folkmote, held in the same place in , the king commanded
In the following year, he caused the same oath to be renewed; and having determined to be no longer governed by the statutes drawn up by the barons, he took possession of the Tower, and immediately proceeded to improve the fortifications, which he had before strengthened and augmented by additional works; he also ordered the city to be strongly guarded; and made proclamation, that whoever would enter into his service, should be maintained at his expence. Yet all this management had like to have been overturned by the Constable of the Tower, who, having stopped divers ships laden with corn, caused the same to be unloaded, and carried into that fortress, where he fixed the price according to pleasure. This proceeding highly incensed the citizens; the consequence whereof would, in all probability, have proved fatal to the king's affairs, had it not been happily accommodated by the determination of the Chief Justice Basset; who, having heard both sides, decreed, that whenever the Constable of the Tower or any of his officers should have occasion to buy corn for the king, or the inhabitants of the Tower, he should, for the future, come to the public market in the city. Every thing now portended a civil war; the king called a parliament in the Tower, and the barons assembled another in the New Temple, in which they discharged all the sheriffs and justices that had been appointed by the king, and filled their places with their own adherents.
Just after, Henry commanded Sir Hugh Bigot, of the itinerant judges, to hold a Court of Itinerancy in London, though contrary to the ancient rights and liberties of the citizens; by which court, divers bakers for mal-practices were set upon the tumbrel, or dung cart, as bawds usually were. Besides which, the said judge did several other things, incompatible with the privileges and immunities of the city.
This year the king caused to be coined in London a penny of pure gold, weighing sterling, which is supposed to be the gold coined in England.
On the , a quarrel happened in the church of St. Mary Cole, at the corner of the , in the Poultry, between a Christian and a Jew; the latter having dangerously wounded the former, endeavoured to escape; but being pursued by the populace, was overtaken, and killed in his own house. But the mob not stopping there, they fell upon other Jews, and killed and robbed many of them.
In a cause tried between the Londoners and Abbot of , , in the exchequer, by a jury consisting of knights of the county of Middlesex, they, after hearing witnesses on both sides, brought in their verdict, that the sheriffs of London had a right to enter the town of , even to the gates of the Abbey, and also into all houses belonging to the abbot, in Middlesex; and there to summon and distrain all and every of his tenants for fault of appearing.
In the following year, Prince Edward, at his return from Wales, immediately went to the Temple, or monastery of the Knights Templars; where, breaking open their treasury, he spoiled them of deposited there by the citizens, as in a sacred repository, not conceiving that any person would be so wicked as to rob a treasury that was under the immediate protection of heaven. This dishonorable action so enraged them, that they instantly ran to arms, to revenge themselves upon Edward and his adherents, assaulted and plundered the houses of Lord Gray, and other courtiers, and determined them to take part with the barons; who, informed that the king had openly rejected the constitutions of Oxford, assembled, without a royal summons, in great numbers, in the neighbourhood of this city; where, in a great council, they publicly declared both against the king and prince as guilty of perjury in receding from the said constitutions; and, having assembled a large army, declared they were resolved to act in defence of the same, and defied all such as opposed them. And having proceeded to open acts of hostility, by destroying the estates, and plundering the houses of all strangers, especially those who were in favor with the king and prince, they sent a letter to the mayor and citizens of London, under the seal of Simon de Mountford, Earl of Leicester, their general, to know whether they would assist them in the recovery of their just rights, and the re-establishment of the provisions made at Oxford, which they had some time before not only confirmed by their charter, but likewise in the most solemn manner swore to maintain the same. They were, however, obliged to act with great caution, as the king, by having a garrison in the Tower, possessed a forcible means of annoyance.
During this troublesome time, a strong guard was kept in the city by day, and by night a party of horse, supported by some infantry, incessantly patrolled the streets.. This guard gave a handle to a gang of thieves, who, under colour of being part of the foot patrol, gave out that they were ordered to search for strangers; under which pretence, they got into and robbed many houses. For the preventing such villainous practices for the future, a standing watch was appointed in every ward. Soon after this, the barons were admitted into the city.
The king, finding himself disappointed of the long-expected relief of the prince, his son, thought it safest to give way to the times, by agreeing to the terms insisted on by the barons, and by a treaty, once more to oblige himself to observe the Oxford statutes. Immediately after the conclusion of this peace, Henry went from the to , whence he sent a letter to the mayor and citizens of London, acquainting them, that the differences between him and the barons were accommodated, therefore strictly enjoined them to look to the peace of the city, and that whosoever should be guilty of a breach of the same, should be arrested, and his goods seized and kept till the king's pleasure should be known how to dispose of them.
Henry never intending to keep the late peace longer than to serve his turn, was no sooner at liberty, than a garrison of foreigners in Windsor castle made an excursion, and plundered the neighboring counties of their provisions. However, the king and his son Edward being soon after reduced, they were again necessitated to come to terms with the barons for a while; when finding means to divide them, and to draw several of the barons to his party, Leicester and his adherents were declared rebels, and the king raised an army to reduce them by force; which was not doubted, provided it could be contrived to deprive Leicester of any help from the city. But that not being possible to be effected, the citizens not only opening their gates to him and his army encamped in , but joined and marched with him, to give the king and prince battle in Fields; where it was proposed and accepted by both sides to submit their grievances to the arbitration of Lewis, King of France.
In the short interval of peace, a barbarous massacre of the Jews took place in London. On the plea, real or pretended, that of that persecuted race had endeavoured to extort more than legal interestnote a week for . from a Christian, upwards of Jews were cruelly put to death by the populace, and their houses and synagogues, which Henry had permitted them to build in the beginning of his reign, were destroyed: this was in Passion-week, .
Lewis, King of France, readily accepting the office of arbitrator, after a full hearing of both sides, gave his award in favour of the king; whereby the statutes of Oxford were annulled, and Henry in all respects restored to his former power, without taking any other notice of the barons, than that the king should use them kindly, and not remember any thing to their disadvantage on account of what was past.
The barons would not abide by this decision, but began to exert themselves in an extraordinary manner against the king. The step they took was to secure the city to their interest, into which they were readily admitted by the citizens. But divers of the aldermen and chief citizens being suspected to be in the king's interest, thought that a reason sufficient to justify their usurping the government of the city, which they were no sooner possessed of, than they, at the desire of the barons, re-chose Thomas Fitz Thomas for mayor, and chose for their captains or leaders Thomas de Pywelldon and Stephen Bukerell; at whose command, by the tolling of great bell, they obliged themselves to appear in arms, and to march with the said officers wheresoever they were pleased to lead them. Their expedition was under Hugh de Spencer, constable of the , (and by the barons lately made justiciary of England), who, having desired the said Pywelldon and Bukerell to join him with a body of their troops, they immediately caused the alarm-bell to be tolled. The citizens, as it were man, instantly shut up their shops, armed with the greatest expedition, joined the troops from the , and marched with the greatest cheerfulness; but whither, or on what design they knew not; till, being arrived at Isleworth, they were commanded to destroy the stately manorhouse of the King of the Romans, with all its appurtenances, as they likewise did, on their return to London, the king's summer house, near . After which, they marched back to the city in triumph, joined the Earl of Leicester, and marched out under his banner to fight the king, who had pursued him up almost to the very gates of the city; which so provoked his Majesty, that he marched back to Kent; where he so effectually prevailed upon the Cinque Ports, as to engage them to send divers ships to block up the river Thames, to prevent the carrying provisions and other commodities to London.
During the democracy in this city, the most unheard--of ravages were committed; for the populace, to enrich themselves, plundered the houses of many of the most eminent citizens, under pretence of their being friends to the king. But their greatest fury was levelled against the Italian usurers and the Jews.
Soon afterwards a body of citizens amounting to men,
|marched out with the Earl of Leicester, to strengthen the army of the barons, and fight the king, who was encamped at Lewes, in Sussex. In the battle which ensued, the Londoners were defeated with dreadful slaughter, and pursued for miles by prince Edward, whose asperity had been provoked by some unmanly insults that had been recently offered to the queen, his mother, when attempting to pass , on her way from the Tower to Windsor. Through this very conduct, however, the battle was lost; for during his absence from the field, the Earl of Leicester had gained such a decided advantage, that, in the end, Henry, his brother Richard, and even Edward himself were all compelled to yield.|
Prince Edward made his escape from the guard, and having assembled a considerable power, he attacked Leicester's army at Evesham; which he not only routed, but likewise killed the earl and of his sons.
In a parliament assembled at , about Christmas, it was enacted
The inhabitants, in this extremity, threw themselves on the king's clemency; yet their prayers were, for a time, but little regarded. The opportunities for extortion were too good to be lost; and besides deposing the magistrates, and appointing persons in their place as guardians of the city, Henry
Whilst in this disastrous situation, the citizens made the most humble remonstrances to the king, both in their individual and corporate capacites; and at length, after many entreaties, they obtained a charter of remission under the broad seal; for this, however, they had to pay the sum of , which, in the then distressed state of the city, was raised with much difficulty; lodgers and servants being obliged to contribute to the assessment, as well as householders.
On the same day, the king granted the city a charter, whereby the citizens were empowered
In , the city experienced a renewal of its troubles. The faithlessness of Henry's promises had provoked the Earl of Gloucester (Gilbert de Clare) to assemble an army; and under some fictitious pretences, he obtained possession of London, which he immediately began to fortify; and being joined by numbers of the disaffected, he invested the Tower, and summoned the Pope's Legate who then held it for the king, to an immediate surrender; alleging,
The legate, instead of complying, made such a stout resistance, by the assistance of the Jews who had retired thither for security, that the king had time to advance to his relief: the latter, also encamping with his troops in the neighbourhood of Stratford-le-Bow, made several assaults on the city, but was every time beaten off. In the mean time, the earl sent a detachment into Kent and Surrey, who having ravaged those counties without opposition, returned with a great booty. Soon after, this mischievous crew repaired to , where they destroyed the church, defaced the abbey, and the doors and windows of the royal palace, and spoiled it of its rich furniture and wine. of this strolling gang of robbers, who were domestics to the earl of Derby, being taken, were put into sacks, and thrown into the river Thames by their master's order for their villany. The earl, however, finding his affairs becoming desperate, made a timely submission, and through the intercession of the King of the Romans, was pardoned: and the Londoners were included in the general amnesty, yet not till they had agreed to pay to Prince Edward, as a remuneration for the demolition of his palace at Isleworth, as mentioned above.
In the following year, , the king, by an extended charter, dated in March, from , remitted all past offences, and confirmed all the ancient privileges of the city, with the exception of the election of the magistrates.
Walter Harvey and William de Durham, Bailiffs of London, rendered to the king the following account of the several issues or profits arising to him in the city, for half a year:
About this time, a great difference happened between the company of Goldsmiths and that of the Merchant Taylors; and other companies interesting themselves on each side, the animosity increased to such a degree, that on a certain night both parties met (it seems by consent) to the number of men, completely armed: when fiercely engaging, several were killed, and many wounded on both sides: and they continued fighting in an obstinate and desperate manner, until the sheriffs raising a great body of citizens, suppressed the riot, and apprehended many of the combatants; who were soon after tried by the mayor, and Laurence de Brook, the king's justices; and of the ringleaders being found guilty, they were condemned and hanged.
In , a great frost began in the month of November, and continued until near Candlemas; during which time, the river Thames was so hard frozen, that all foreign merchandizes were brought by land from Sandwich and other ports to London.
In , the government of the city was conferred on Prince Edward; who, in the same year re-obtained for the citizens the privilege of electing their own magistrates; on which occasion, the fee-farm paid by the city was increased to per annum. The citizens also in testimony of their gratitude, presented the prince with ; and to the king, who in the July following confirmed all their ancient rights and immunities, they gave .
In this year there fell such prodigious rains, that the Thames
|overflowed, and broke down its banks in many places, which occasioned an immense damage: and the fruits of the earth were thereby so destroyed as to occasion the most excessive dearth that had ever been known in this kingdom; wheat being sold at the quarter (which is more than at present): and the famine reigned in so horrible and destructive a manner, that many poor parents eat their own children.|
Towards the end of this year, the steeple of , in , fell down, whereby many persons, both men and women were killed.
Henry died at , in , and was buried in the abbey church, which had been rebuilding during almost the whole of this reign.
On the death of the king, the barons assembled at the New Temple, and appointed a Regency to govern the kingdom during the absence of Edward, who was then in Sicily, on his return from Palestine. Shortly afterwards, the new king, by a letter directed to the mayor, sheriffs, and commonalty of London, ordered the Flemings to be expelled the city, and charged the magistrates to be careful to preserve the peace. In , Edward landed in England with his queen, and on their arrival at London, they were received with great rejoicings and pomp.
On the of the following month, Edward and his queen were crowned at ; and
Soon afterwards, the king appointed a over the city, till some violent dissensions, which had arisen about the choice of a mayor, could be appeased. About this time, also, various laws were made for the punishment of fraudulent bakers and millers within the city. These laws subjected the bakers to a forfeiture of their light bread for the offence, to imprisonment for the , and to be placed in the pillory for the . And they ordained that all the thievish millers should be punished by the tumbrel, that is, carried in a dung cart through certain streets, exposed to the derision of the people. Moreover, his majesty admonished the citizens to devise proper laws for regulating the prices of poultry and fish; which sort of provisions had been engrossed by a few rapacious hucksters. Accordingly, it was ordained by the magistrates of the city,
It was also ordained,
In , the king intending to employ the mayor in an embassy beyond the seas, directed a writ to the magistates, and chief men of the city, to send him of the discreetest citizens, whom he might appoint to preserve peace and tranquillity, and distribute justice in the absence of their mayor.
The year proved very fatal to the Jews; who, being convicted of clipping and diminishing the king's coin, were all throughout England seized and imprisoned in day; and out of those seized in this city, of both sexes were executed.
In , the citizens obtained of the king for a certain sum of money, a pardon for whatever they had done to that time contrary to their charters; which letters patent were directed to the mayor, aldermen, citizens, and commonalty of London. And in the following year he granted them certain customs for the reparation and inclosure of the city, by letters patents, dated at Nettleham, An. Reg. undecimo directed to the mayor and his fellow-citizens.
This year will ever be memorable for the death of Llewellin, the last prince of the Britons that reigned in Wales; who, having lost the victory in the field of battle, fled to Bluith Castle for safety; but was betrayed by the men of that place into the hands of Roger le Strange, who, taking him off his guard, ran upon him and cut off his head with his broad-sword, while he was reviling the English. The head was sent to King Edward, who ordered it to be carried to London. The citizens in cavalcade met the messenger that brought it, and conducted him to the city in triumph, with the sound of trumpets and horns, and carried the same through upon a lance, crowned with a silver chaplet or circle; by which (according to some authors, with an ill-natured sneer) was fulfilled the prediction of a Welsh fortuneteller, who foretold him, that his head should ride down with a silver crown. But what was most blameable, they were not content only to glut their eyes with this moving and melancholy spectacle, the head of this great, though unfortunate prince, but ignominiously set it upon the pillory in for the remaining part of the day, and then fixed it upon the , crowned with an ivory diadem.
In , Laurence Ducket, a goldsmith, having dangerously
|wounded Ralph Crepin, in Westcheap, or , took sanctuary in Bow church-steeple. Divers friends of the said Crepin surprized Ducket there by night, and hanged him in of the windows, in such a manner, as even to deceive the coroner's jury; who, having sat upon the body, brought in their verdict, Self-Murder: whereby corpse was drawn thence by the feet, and buried in a ditch without the city. But a boy, who lay with him that night, and during that barbarous action concealed himself, having ventured to give information against the murderers, many persons were apprehended ; were hanged, and a woman, the contriver of the said murder, was burnt alive; others, persons of distinction, concerned therein, were amerced in pecuniary mulcts. And the disgraced body was dug up, and buried in a decent manner.|
A. D. , it was ordained, that the millers should take no more than half-penny for grinding a quarter of wheat. The great conduit in was built. And John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury, commanded the Bishop of London to destroy all the Jews' synagogues in London.
It appears from the , that the city was now divided into wards, viz.
Each ward chose certain of their inhabitants to be of council to the aldermen, which council were to be consulted by him, and their advice to be followed in all affairs of public concern, relating to the city of London. And these council-men were sworn into their office.
The Lord Treasurer summoned the mayor, aldermen, and citizens of London, to attend him in the Tower, to render an account how the peace of the city had been kept; but Gregory Rockesley, the mayor, for the honor of the city, refusing to attend in that quality, laid aside his ensigns of mayoralty at Barking Church, delivered the city seal to Stephen Aswy, (others write it Asly,) and then repaired to the Tower as a private gentleman. The treasurer so highly resented this behaviour, that he committed Rockesley, and divers of the principal citizens to prison, at the feast of St. Peter, in summer; which the king not only approved of, but he also seized upon the city liberties, discharged the mayor, and appointed Stephen Sandwich, of London, (unto Candlemas following, when John Beyton, or Briton, was appointed , till Day, in the year , according to Arnold), under pretence that the mayor had taken bribes of the bakers, to connive at their cheating the public, by making their penny loaves or ounces too light; or for some crime of a higher nature. But be that as it will, this is certain, that London had no mayor for years after.
These innovations produced many disorders, and robbery and murder became so frequent in the city, that it was ordered, that
Edward being returned from France, was received by the citizens into London with great state and solemnity, and applied himself immediately to redress the grievous complaints made by his subjects against the usuries of the Jews; who, as our historians express it, had eaten his people to the bones: and against his justiciaries, who, like another kind of Jews, had ruined them with delays in their law-suits, and enriched themselves with wicked corruptions. The Jews he punished by a confiscation of all their goods, and banishment out of the realm; and he dismissed from their office all the justiciaries who were found guilty, fined them according to their particular offences; and also banished sir Thomas Weyland, the chief-justice, being in open parliament convicted. Sir Ralph Hengham, chief-justice of the higher bench, was fined at : sir John Lovetot, justice of the lower bench, : sir William Brompton, justice, : sir Solomon Rochester,
|chief-justice of assizes, : sir Richard Boyland, : sir Thomas Sodentone, : sir Walter de Hopton, : sir William Sahaa, justice, : Robert Littleburie, clerk, : R. de Leicester, clerk, : Adam de Stratton, (besides other riches incredible amongst which was found a king's crown, supposed to be King John's, many vessels of silver, and variety of jewels) . Sir Thomas Weyland was entirely stripped o all his goods, chattels, jewels, money and lands. The number of Jews now banished were ; and the parliament voted his majesty a of all their goods, besides the immense sums raised by the sale of their houses, for concur. ring with them in this act of expulsion.|
This was so pleasing to the king, that he commanded the aldermen and principal citizens to repair to on Easter Wednesday; where, by the advice of his council, his majesty restored to them the power of electing their chief magistrate the mayor: they having previously paid a fine of into the king's exchequer. On the Friday after, they chose Henry Walleys into that high office; who, on the Wednesday following. was presented and accepted by the king at Fulham; and the day after he was sworn before the treasurer and barons of the exchequer. But his private affairs calling him into the country, he constituted William de Breton and Galfred de Norton his representatives, to officiate during his absence; and set out the next day for Lincoln.
This act of the royal favour was immediately followed by a charter of confirmation of all the city's ancient privileges, dated the eighteenth day of April, in the -and- year of his reign; in which charter, the following additional privileges are granted: . In the absence of the king and the barons of the exchequer from , the mayor elect is to be presented and admitted by the Constable of the . . To be quit and free from Pannage.. Pontage, a duty paid for
|passing over bridges with horses, carts, or other carriages; or under them with boats, ships, &c. towards the repairing of the said bridges. And lastly, to be quit and free from murage, which was a duty paid towards building or repairing of the walls of cities and towns throughout the kingdom.|
A. D. , Sir William Wallace, a Scottish knight, was brought a prisoner to London, and lodged in the house of William Delect, in ; from whence, on the , he was conducted through the city by John Seagrave and Geoffrey--, knights, accompanied by the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs, and a prodigious concourse of people, both of horse and foot, to ; where, being arrived in the Hall, he was, by way of derision, set upon a bench, with a laurel upon his head, tried as of the king's enemies, condemned for high treason against king Edward, and suffered a cruel and ignominious death in Smithfield, being there hanged, drawn, and quartered. His head was fixed upon a pole on , and his quarters sent into Scotland, to be placed over the gates of as many of the principal cities.
The mayor, aldermen, and citizens of London paid to his majesty towards the same.
Sir John Blunt, Lord Mayor, being ordered to accompany the prince in his expedition against the Scots, there were appointed guardians or by the citizens themselves, to execute the supreme magistracy of this city. And this same year, sea coals being very much used in the suburbs of London by brewers, dyers, and others requiring great fires, the nobility and gentry resorting thither complained thereof to the king, as a public nuisance, whereby, they said, the air was infected with a noisome smell, and a thick cloud, to the great endangering of the health of the inhabitants; wherefore, a proclamation was issued, strictly forbidding the use of that fuel. But little regard being paid thereunto, the king appointed a commission of Oyer and Terminer, to enquire after those who had contumaciously acted in open defiance to his proclamation, strictly commanding all such to be punished by pecuniary mulets; and for the offence to have their kilns and furnaces destroyed.
The last transaction between this corporation and the crown we meet with in this reign, was, an agreement in the exchequer, by John le Blound, the mayor, and all the aldermen of London, for themselves, and the whole community of the city, to pay the king for the , or of the goods
|of the said community; the greatest part whereof they paid in tallies.|
 Walt. Coven. Chron.
 Madox. Hist. Excheq.
 Fabian's Chron. p. 7.
 The watch-word of the French during the previous troubles.
 Matt. Paris. Matt. West. Brad. Hp. Hist. Eng.
 Stow's Ann. 263.
 Rym. Foed.
 Stow's Sur.
 The third charter manifestly refers to the ancient privilege granted to this city by Edward the Confessor, of keeping the hustings only once a week; which had been broken into by the gentlemen of the law, who had greatly increased in number since the Conquest, and interrupted the quiet commerce of the citizens by litigious suits, which took up several days in the week. It was to remove this growing evil that the citizens petitioned for this confirmation of King Edward's charter.- Maitland, 81.
 Madox. Matt. Paris. Hist. Angl.
 Madox Hist. Excheq.
 Madox Hist. Excheq.
 Stow's Ann. 271.
 Matt. Par. Hist. Angl.
 Fab. Chron. 7. Matt. Par.
 Stow's Sur. A.D. 1241.
 Matt. Paris Angl.
 Madox Hist. Excheq.
 Stow's Annals, p. 227.
 Ibid. p. 278.
 Rapin, Vol. i, p. 321, from Matt. Par. p. 751, 757.
 Stow's Ann p. 279.
 Matt. Par. p. 774.
 Fab. Chron. p. 7.
 Matt. Paris.
 Mad. Firm, Burg.
 Fabian Chron.
 Mat. Paris. A. D. 1255.
 The Folkmote, or Assembly of the people, or commonalty, appears to have been at that time the supreme assembly of the city, in which all the citizens that would come were met together, near St. Paul's; in which the mayor and aldermen might be impeached for misgovernment; a mayor has been chosen; and in which the liberties and customs of the city were to be finally examined and determined by a majority of voices. This Supreme Assembly was summoned by the ringing of a great bell, in a belfrey erected near the east end of St. Paul's church, as appears in the pleadings on a Quo Warranto, 14 Edw. II. which summons was generally by order of the mayor and aldermen; and in this court capital criminals were declared outlawed. After which, according to the law of those times, any person was empowered to kill the offender. However, this Assembly, as the city increased by foreign inhabitants, became in time so tumultuous and dangerous, by the great intermixture of strangers and non-freemen, contrary to the liberties and customs of the city, that, by degrees, we find it laid aside; though its authority was frequently pleaded by the citizens.
 Fabian Chron. p. 7.
 Stow's Ann. p. 285.
 Brayley's Lond. i. 140.
 Maitland, i. 92.
 Fab. Chron. p. 7, 1262.
 Chron. Tho. Wik.
 Fab. Chron. p. 7.
 Matt. West. Flor. Hist.
 Fab. Chron. p. 7.
 M. S. Chron. Lond. Fab. Chron. p. 7.
 Chron. Tho. Wik.
 Fab. Chron. p. 7.
 Fab. Chron. p. 7.
 Fab. Chron. p. 7.
 Fabian Chron. p. 7.
 Chron. Tho. Wikes.
 Maitland, p. 63.
 Stow's Ann. 298.
 Lib. de Ant. Leg. fol. 121.
 Matt. West. Flor. Hist.
 Maitland, i. 105.
 Fab. Chron. p. 7.
 Folio 116.
 Tho. Walsingham, &c.
 Stow's Ann. p. 311.
 Bohun thinks it should be printed Pavage, i. e. a certain duty payable to the king for the liberty of sending swine, or cattle, to feed in any of his forests.
 Stow's Ann. Eng.
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|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|