History of London from the reign of Edward the Fourth to the reign of Henry the Eighth.
Edward IV. the same day he was proclaimed, dined at Baynard's Castle, near , and continued there till his army was ready to march in pursuit of the late king. of the and most arbitrary acts of Edward's reign was the causing Walter Walker, an eminent grocer in , to be apprehended and tried for a few harmless words innocently spoken by him; viz. that he would make his son
inoffensively meaning his own house which had the crown for its sign; for which imaginary crime, he was beheaded in Smithfield, in the day of this reign.
Soon after, Edward marched his army through Bishopsgate towards the north, in quest of King Henry, who by this time had assembled a mighty army of men; and, both armies meeting at Towton, or Shyryborn, in Yorkshire, after a terrible and desperate engagement which continued hours, with a prodigious slaughter, victory declared in favor of Edward. After Edward had taken care for preserving the peace in the north, he began his march back southward; and in the beginning of June he arrived at his manor of Shene, now Richmond, in Surrey, till all things were got ready for his coronation. On the , his majesty set out from thence to London, and was on the way met at by the mayor and aldermen in their formalities, dressed in scarlet, attended by citizens on horseback, all in green, richly accoutred, by whom he was conducted to the ; from whence, days after, he rode through the city to , and was crowned with very great solemnity at ; on which occasion the public rejoicings in the city were exceedingly great;
Edward, in the year of his reign, to show his gratitude to the citizens of London for the many great and signal services
|done to him, granted them a charter, by which all the ancient rights and liberties of the citizens are not only confirmed, but likewise the following additional liberties granted. . The mayor, recorder, and aldermen passed the chair, are appointed perpetual justices of the peace of the city, during their continuing aldermen of the same. . The mayor, recorder, and aldermen passed the chair, are constituted justices of , for the trying of all malefactors within their own jurisdiction. . For the better ascertaining the customs of the city, when a plea is brought in any of the superior courts touching the said customs, the mayor and aldermen are hereby empowered, by the mouth of their recorder, to declare whether the point in controversy be a custom of London or not; and if, upon enquiry, it be found to be such, then the same to be recorded, and remain an established custom to all futurity. . The mayor and aldermen are for ever exempt from serving in all foreign assizes, juries, or attaints, and also from the offices of assessor, collector of taxes, or overseer, or comptroller of all public duties without the jurisdiction of the city. . The concession of the borough of , with its appurtenances, is confirmed, with the right of waifs, strays, and treasure trove.. The citizens are entitled to the goods and chattels of traitors, felons, &c. with the privilege of holding an annual fair in the said borough, together with a court of , with the rights and customs thereunto belonging, all at the ancient fee-farm rent of per annum.|
The year was distinguished by new commotions, and civil broils, principally originating in the imprudence of Edward, who had grievously offended his late firm adherent, the Earl of Warwick, as well as most of the ancient nobility, by the lavish manner in which he showered down honors, titles, and estates, on the relations of the queen, in almost total neglect of his former partizans. After various events, Edward was at length constrained to fly to Holland: and his queen having left the Tower, and taken sanctuary at , in , that fortress was delivered up to the mayor, (Sir Richard Lee) and the aldermen of London. who immediately released the captive Henry from his confinement, which he had now endured for nearly years: shortly afterwards he was again proclaimed king, and went in procession
to ; the Earl of Warwick supporting his train, and the Earl of Oxford bearing his sword.
During the distractions of this period, London was in great danger of being ravaged by a body of miscreants under the command of Sir Geoffrey Gates, who plundered the houses of the foreign merchants in Blanch Appleton, now ; and being afterwards strengthened by numerous ruffians from Kent, pillaged ; and recrossing the Thames, carried fire and sword into the eastern skirts of the metropolis. They were afterwards overpowered by some forces under the Duke of Clarence and the Earl of Warwick, by whom many of the ringleaders were ordered to be immediately hanged.
The ascendancy of the Earl of Warwick, who now governed in the king's name, was but of short duration; for Edward having procured aid from his brother-in-law, the Duke of Burgundy, and secretly inclined his own brother, the Duke of Clarence, to favor his attempt, landed in England in , and marching towards the capital with all the expedition which his affairs admitted of, was received into the city with great rejoicings, on the , the mayor and aldermen having previously obtained possession of the Tower in his name.
Edward had but just shewn himself to the Londoners, when he was obliged to put himself at the head of his troops, and march forth to meet the Earl of Warwick, who was advancing with a large army. The hard-fought battle of Barnet was decisive of the struggle: victory declared for Edward, and the earl was slain.
Edward was now restored to his crown and dignity. He posted to London in person to carry the news of this great and decisive victory to his loving citizens himself, by whom he was. received with a joy inexpressible; being freed from their late anxieties, and the danger they would inevitably have been exposed to, if Warwick had obtained the victory. After Edward had returned thanks in for his late success, he re-committed, for life, the most unfortunate king Henry to his old prison in the , who was obliged to ride the city in a long blue velvet gown. But this was not the end of the city's troubles; for, while Edward was obliged to march after and give battle to another army, commanded by Henry's queen, and son, &c. which he routed; and took prisoners the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Somerset, and the Prior of ; Thomas Nevil, natural son of Lord Falconbridge, therefore generally called the Bastard Falconbridge, a person as debauched in his morals as wicked in his practices, who had been a pirate for several years, thought it was then proper time to enrich himself at once; and, in order thereto, landed a considerable number of seamen in Kent; who, being joined by a body of freebooters from all parts, under the specious pretence of restoring the captive King Henry, (by which stratagem the partizans of the house of Lancaster were artfully cajoled to join the bastard) his army
|soon increased to men, with whom he easily possessed himself of ; and being denied admittance into the city, caused of his men to cross the Thames at , in order at once to attack and Bishopsgate; whilst he, with the other part of his army, were employed in storming London-bridge. Those attacks were carried on by that infamous crew of robbers with the utmost desperation; who, storming the bulwark at , repulsed the citizens, and entered the gate with them. But the portcullis being let down, those that had entered were soon cut to pieces. Whereupon Robert Basset, an alderman, and the commanding officer there, being reinforced by a great number of citizens, sallied out and repulsed the enemy with great loss. At which time, the Earl Rivers sallied out at the postern on , with men of the Tower garrison, and flanked the rebels; who, finding themselves violently attacked on both sides, fled with the utmost precipitation as far as and ; but, being closely pursued, numbers were killed and taken prisoners. Those thieves were not only repulsed at , but likewise at the bridge, by that gallant citizen Ralph Jocelin, late mayor of the city, who, after having bravely defended his post against the terrible fire and furious assaults of the enemy, compelled them to retreat; and falling upon their rear, pursued them with great slaughter as far as Redriff.|
The king being returned to the city from his late expedition against Queen Margaret, he was by the citizens received with the greatest demonstrations of joy; and he knighted the following aldermen for their gallant behaviour in defending the city against the bastard, viz. John Stockton, the mayor, Ralph Verney, John Young, William Taylor, Richard Lee, Matthew Philips, George Ireland, William Stoker, William Hampton, Thomas Stallbroke, John Crosby, and Bartholomew James, aldermen, and Thomas Urswick, recorder. But what chiefly confirmed the peaceable possession of the throne to Edward, was the death of Henry, his competitor; who departed this life, some write naturally, others that he was murdered with a dagger by the hands of the Duke of Gloucester, who succeeded to the crown after Edward IV. The royal corpse was exposed to public view on Ascension-day.
Upon the Monday following, King Edward marched in pursuit of the bastard above-mentioned, who fled before the royal army, as it advanced to Canterbury; and his rebel accomplices deserting him, his majesty seized upon many of them both in Kent and Essex, who, after a fair trial, were executed, and their heads set on London-bridge; where also the head of their leader, the bastard, at length bore them company, having been discovered and taken near Southampton about months after.
The year will ever be memorable in the annals of the metropolis, from the introduction of the art of printing, by William Caxton, citizen and mercer, who practised it in this country under the patronage of Earl Rivers and the Abbot of , and within the walls of .
There being at this time only pair of stocks in London, (and those at the market from which it received its name, now the site of the mansion-house,) for the punishing of vagrants; Sir William Hampton, the mayor, caused stocks to be erected in every ward, for the more effectual punishment of strollers.
In , it was ordained, that the sheriffs of London and Middlesex should each have serjeants, and every his yeoman; and also clerks, viz. a secondary, a clerk of the papers, and others, besides the under-sheriff's clerks.
Sir William Hampton, knight of the bath, Lord Mayor of London, did his endeavours this year to clear the city and liberties of disorderly women; for which purpose he gave the notorious bawds and whores corporal punishment, and ordered them to be led through the chief streets, and exposed in a most shameful manner.
King Edward having entered into an alliance with the Duke of Burgundy for the recovery of his rights in France, he called a parliament to enable him to put the same in execution, by carrying on a vigorous war against that nation. But the parliament years before having granted a of all the revenues and profits of the kingdom, besides the sum of ; which, together with the great depredations committed in the late civil war, whereby the country was almost entirely ruined; they found themselves not in a condition to grant a new subsidy at that time, other than by making an ordinance for the more effectual and speedy raising of the above-mentioned supply, which Rapin erroneously calls a subsidy granted in this session.
The king, for the above reasons, not judging it proper to urge them to a compliance with his demands, contrived a new method for supplying his necessities (hitherto unknown) under the specious appellation of a benevolence; to which end, he caused lists secretly to be made of all the rich and most opulent of his subjects, whom he prevailed upon, either by public entreaties or private menaces,
|largely to contribute. Upon which occasion, he sent to the Lord Mayor and aldermen of London, whom he, in a very pathetic speech, exhorted to set a good example to others by their generously contributing. The mayor, in obedience to his majesty's request, gave , divers of the aldermen , and each. Then he sent for the principal commons of the city, to whom he addressed himself in the aforesaid manner; which had so good an effect, that the major part gave him the sum of each: which, according to computation, amounted to half the charge of a soldier for year.|
By these great contributions, together with those from the country,
Edward was enabled to raise an army of men, which he transported to Calais; but, by the ill performance of the Duke of Burgundy and perfidious dealings of the Constable St. Paul, Edward found it necessary, without striking a stroke, to make peace with Lewis, the French, king, more to the. advantage of his courtiers than to his own honor; though on his return with his army to London, he was met at Blackheath by the Lord Mayor and aldermen in scarlet robes, attended by of the most eminent citizens on horseback, clothed in murrey, and richly accoutred; by whom he was conducted through the city to , in a very pompous manner.
In the above-mentioned sessions of parliament, a great house in the parish of Alhallows the Great, in , anciently known by the appellation of , (at present the Steelyard) was confirmed to the Hanseatic merchants and their successors for ever, together with the other tenements thereunto belonging, they paying annually for the same to the mayor and citizens of London, , and some petty rents to others.
By another act of common council made at this time, the masters, wardens, and liveries of city corporations were empowered to assist as electors at all future elections of mayor and sheriffs of London, &c. Since which time, the said magistrates have been chosen by the lord mayor, aldermen, common-councilmen, and liverymen.
In the year , the mayor, Sir Ralph Joceline, by the consent of the bench and common council, came to a resolution to repair the city walls with brick, made of earth, dug, tempered, and burnt in ; and ordained, that in every parish church, on every Sunday, every parishioner, should pay towards the charge of the said repairs ; and, for an example unto other companies, prevailed with his own Company of Drapers to build as much of the said wall as reached from the church of Alhallows within the said wall unto Bishopsgate; who were imitated, in some measure, by other companies. And likewise, Richard Rawson, of the sheriffs in , gave, by his will, large legacies to the prisons,
|hospitals, and lazars to the poor, highways and water conduits, besides to marry poor maids, and money to be applied by his executors in building a large house, in the yard of St. Mary Spital, for the mayor, &c. to sit during the time of sermon. The Tower-ditch was this year cast and cleansed throughout.|
In , the citizens purchased charters of the king the for the sum of (part of . which Edward acknowledged himself indebted to them), by which they received permission to purchase lands in mortmain to the value of per annum; and the other for (being part also of the said sum), by which they obtained the privileges of package, portage, garbling of spices, &c. guaging, wine-drawing, and other privileges.
In , a very great pestilence raged in London, which begun about the end of September in the preceding year, and lasted to the beginning of November in this year sweeping away an incredible numble of people. During this calamity, Sir Bartholomew James, the mayor, being at his devotion before St. Erkenwald's shrine in , Robert Byfield, of the sheriffs, kneeled down hard by him, in like manner to perform his devotion to the said saint. But, whether the mayor thought himself thereby affected in his devotion, or in his honour is not certain: however, he highly resented this proceeding of the sheriff, and with some warmth asked him,
The sheriff, instead of acknowledging himself guilty of a crime, treated the mayor in a very opprobrious manner, who complained thereof to the court of aldermen; which court amerced him in the sum of for his rude deportment, to be appropriated towards repairing the city conduits. And in the following year we read an extraordinary sentence by the same court of Lord Mayor and Aldermen: who fined Robert Deynys, the sum of , to be paid unto the chamber, for presuming to marry an orphan in the city without their licence.
This year also gives a notable example of a punishment inflicted on robbers of churches, who were hanged on , and their bodies burnt to ashes, with the gibbet, as they hung.
In the year , England being invaded by the Scots, King Edward raised an army of men, for the support of which he applied to the city of London for a loan; where, in a consultation of the citizens, it was resolved to advance him the sum of . For the rating and levying of which, a commission was chosen out of each ward; who, together
|with of the inhabitants of each parish, were appointed the assessors.|
In , the citizens of London, by their many great and faithful services, had so endeared themselves to the king, that he appointed a great hunting match in Waltham forest, for the entertainment of William Harcot, alias Haryat, a draper, the mayor, the aldermen, and many of the chief citizens; where, after the chase was over, wherein were killed a great number of deer, (both red and fallow) they were elegantly entertained in a beautiful and stately arbour, erected for that purpose. And in the month of August following his majesty, in great regard to the said mayor, who by his great trade with foreign countries increased the royal customs very largely, and other things that had given great contentment, sent harts, bucks, and a tun of wine, for the entertainment of the lady mayoress, and the wives of the aldermen and principal citizens; wherewith they sumptuously regaled themselves in Draper's Hall.
The king died at , .
Upon the demise of Edward the , his eldest son Edward, a prince of years of age, should have succeeded him. But, upon his accession to the crown, Richard Duke of Gloucester, his perfidious uncle, seized upon his person at Stoney-Stratford, as he was returning from Ludlow, in Shropshire, to London. Upon the news whereof the whole city was in the greatest commotion; and many of the nobility taking arms, were joined by a vast number of citizens, for their mutual defence, till they knew what Gloucester intended by seizing the king's person. However, the Lord Hastings, a man in great favour with the citizens, being sent into the city to assure them that the king was not in the least danger, and that the Earl of Rivers, Lord Grey, and the knights that were apprehended with him, were arrested for certain conspiracies formed against the Duke of Gloucester and Buckingham, which would soon be made to appear in a legal way; and to represent to the citizens, that their taking arms in such a riotous and seditious manner would prove of dangerous consequence to themselves, if they did not speedily lay them down, and return to their several habitations, and not take upon them to censure the proceedings of their superiors, (who intended nothing more than the public good) lest they themselves should be deemed the only enemies of the nation, violators of the public tranquillity, and obstructors of the king's coronation, which the duke and other lords were coming to London to celebrate; this speech had so good an effect upon the citizens, that they immediately dispersed and returned to their respective habitations.
The king, on his way to London, was on the met at Hornsey Park (now Highgate) by Edmund Shaw, the mayor,
| accompanied by the aldermen, sheriffs, and citizens on horseback, richly accoutred in purple gowns, whence they conducted him to the city, where he was received by the citizens with a joy inexpressible, and lodged in the bishop's palace. In this solemn cavalcade, the Duke of Gloucester's deportment was very remarkable; for, riding uncovered before the king, he frequently called to the citizens with an audible voice to |
This behaviour of Gloucester not only gained him the affection of the citizens, but likewise persuaded them that the late misrepresentations of his conduct were purely the effects of malice; and confirmed their good opinion of him in the minds of the Londoners, in not only doing homage to the king himself, but also inviting all the nobility to do the same.
The arts of the duke,
so far prevailed, that at the next council assembled at the episcopal palace, he was appointed Protector of the King and Realm; yet Edward's queen, who had taken sanctuary at on the intelligence of her brother's (the Earl Rivers) arrest, was so firmly impressed with the Duke of Gloucester's sinister designs, that it was only by the most pressing instances that she could be prevailed upon to deliver up her youngest son, the Duke of York, into the care of his uncle Gloucester, who immediately lodged the king and his young brother in the , and took up his residence in Crosby place (where now is, in ). He now wickedly set about usurping the crown, at the expense of the blood of his innocent nephews, the king and his brother. But dreading the influence and honesty of Lord Hastings, of the king's best friends, and not finding any thing to accuse him of so as to strike at his life in a judicial manner, he had him seized by a parcel of ruffians, upon their outcry of treason in the Tower; who, by the Protector's order, dragged the said lord out of his presence to the platform near the chapel, within the Tower, and without conviction or trial, or giving his lordship time to prepare for death, cut off his head on the butt-end of a large piece of timber, which lay there accidentally for the repairing of the said Tower. He also arrested the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Ely, and Lord Stanley. The Protector, then, in order to obviate the bad consequences that might be justly apprehended would follow the news of this act of violence in the city, put on a rusty suit of armour, as did also the Duke of Buckingham, his accomplice in this tragical scene; and immediately sent for the mayor and aldermen of London to the Tower, where he gave them a specious account of the justly deserved sufferings of Hastings; to whom, at their coming, Gloucester addressed himself in the following words;--
This speech they seemingly approved of, by declaring their readiness to obey his commands, as if in reality they had believed every word he said to be truth. However, they tacitly concluded that what he had said to extenuate the murder, by unjustly aspersing the deceased, were detestable falsehoods. Gloucester soon after perceiving that the above stratagem had not the desired effect, sent into the city a herald at arms, to make proclamation in all public places of the same, to the following effect:
This attempt had no better success than the former; for the citizens, reflecting on the great length of the proclamation, the elegancy of its composition, and the beautiful manner of its being engrossed on parchment, and yet published within hours after Hastings' execution, concluded that his death was predetermined, and that the proclamation had been prepared before his execution; therefore, were confirmed in opinion that he had not fair play.
Every engine was now employed to engage the city in the Protector's conspiracy; and with this intent, Sir Edmund Shaw, the Mayor of London, was made a privy counsellor; by which means, the exertions of his brother, Dr. Shaw, a celebrated and much followed preacher, were secured in favour of the intended usurpation; and it was determined
On the Sunday following, therefore, this prelate taking for his text the words of Solomon,
attempted to convince his auditory
whom he declared to be the
But, lest this should not weigh with the citizens, Shaw received from the abandoned Protector the most detestable, wicked and infamous command, that can be shewn in history, which was to accuse his own mother of adultery; whereby it would appear, that neither the late king, nor the late Duke of Clarence, brothers to Gloucester, had any right to the crown, and consequently none of their descendants; whereby at blow were cut off the king, his brother, and the Earl of Warwick, son to the Duke of Clarence; and, in order to confirm the Duchess of York their mother's incontinence, the preacher declared, that it was well known to divers persons acquainted with her intrigues with some persons of her husband's court, whom the brothers exactly resembled; therefore, they were not to look for true heirs of the Duke of York, e their in the children of the late king, or in those of the Duke of Clarence: and raising his voice, he said,
It was designed, that when Shaw entered upon this panegyric, Gloucester should appear, as if he came by chance; in hopes that the citizens, moved by the preacher's eloquence, would salute him king: but the Protector staying longer than he ought, the doctor had gone through that part of his oration. However, upon the duke's approach, he unseasonably reassumed his encomium, by inculcating the aforesaid words, which, instead of being received by the citizens with an huzza of Long live King Richard, he had the mortification to see the audience stand like so many mutes; and, instead of approving of what was said, they conceived it to be a wicked discourse, stuffed with the most fulsome and servile adulation; and which soon after appeared to have been an impious prologue to the horrid murder of the innocent young princes, the king and his brother, in the .
This attempt proving unsuccessful, and not having had the desired effect, orders were sent to the mayor to convene the aldermen, common-council, and principal citizens in ; to whom repaired the Duke of Buckingham
and of the Protector's best friends, accompanied by divers of the nobility of the same faction; and mounting the hustings, he addressed the assembly to this effect:
The oration being finished, the duke expected to have heard the assembly cry out, God save King Richard ; but all remaining silent, as if struck with horror at the injustice and absurdity of the proposal, the duke, being greatly amazed, took aside the mayor, with others of the conspirators, and whispering, asked them, how it came the citizens were so silent? The mayor replied, perhaps they don't understand you. This occasioned the duke to recite his speech with some variation, yet with such a graceful energy of eloquence, that it was not possible for any man to have said more in behalf of so bad a cause. However, the assembly continued as before. Whereupon the mayor acquainted the duke, that the citizens were not accustomed to hear any other orator but their recorder, and therefore imagined their silence was owing to that. He then ordered Fitz-Williams, the recorder, to speak to the citizens upon the aforesaid subject; which he, with great reluctance, did, by repeating the heads of the duke's speech, without the least addition. But this having no greater effect upon the auditory than the former, it occasioned the duke to whisper to the mayor, that the citizens were amazingly obstinate; and, turning to the audience, he further added:
Upon this the assembly began to murmur; and at last divers of the protector and duke's servants, together with some apprentices, and the rabble who crowded into the hall, cried out, King Richard, King Richard! and, as a demonstration of their joy, threw up their hats in the air. The duke, perceiving from what quarter the noise came, laid hold of the opportunity, as if the acclamation had been general; and said,
Then the duke and the lords withdrew, and left the assembly to break up with woeful hearts and weeping eyes; for the concealing of which, they hurried home to vent their grief in private, to prevent the dangerous consequence a public lamentation would have been attended with.
The day after the above-mentioned mock election, the aldermen, and
repaired to Baynards' castle,
whither the Duke of Buckingham, attended by several of the nobility, also resorted; who, by a messenger, acquainted Gloucester, that a great company waited to address his highness about an affair of the greatest importance; therefore desired his grace would be pleased to admit them to an audience. Gloucester, seeming jealous of what they came about, made some difficulty of admitting them; which gave Buckingham an opportunity of letting the mayor and citizens know how ignorant the protector was of their design; and sending another messenger, with an earnest and humble supplication to the protector, he was, seemingly with great difficulty, prevailed upon to come forth, yet with such an affected air of diffidence, that he appeared as if unwilling to approach them till he knew their business; and after a great deal of affected carelessness he was persuaded to accede to the petition of the assembly, and accept the crown. On the same day he
at , and
engaged to govern with clemency, and justly to administer the laws.
His coronation was solemnized on the of the ensuing month, July; and, as appears from the coronation-roll, it was once intended, that the
should grace the ceremony; yet it is certain that they did not appear there. Fabian says,
Whatever may have been the real fate o these princes, the story of their having been murdered in the Tower, during the progress which Richard made, shortly after his coronation, to Oxford, Gloucester, York, &c. made a great impression on the people. and inclined many to join in the conspiracy against him, headed by the Duke of Buckingham, his once firmest partizan, but now most determined enemy. But the duke proved unsuccessful; and being compelled to take shelter in the house of a domestic, was basely betrayed, and soon afterwards beheaded by Richard's command, without any legal process.
In the following year anno ), the great intercourse of Italian and other foreign merchants with the metropolis, was restrained by act of parliament, and other regulations were made to maintain the ancient privileges of the citizens. The same year, on the news of the projected invasion of the Earl of Richmond, and other English malcontents, a commission was given to the surveyor of the king's works, directing him
Richard was slain in the battle of Bosworth Field, on the ; and his crown having been found in the field by a soldier, was placed by the Lord Stanley on the head of the Earl of Richmond, who immediately assumed the regal state, by the title of Henry the , and had his claim subsequently ratified by the parliament. He entered London days afterwards, having been met on his way by the
by whom he
He was crowned at on the thirtieth of October following, on which occasion he instituted a body-guard of chosen archers,
to attend him and his successors for ever; thus
About this period the Sweating Sickness, an epidemical distemper of a very singular nature, raged with great violence in London, where, says Stow,
Those attacked by this before unknown disorder, were thrown into a violent perspiration, which mostly occasioned their deaths in hours; yet, if they survived that time, they generally recovered. Of this sickness,
before the proper remedies could be determined, which lay chiefly in a temperate regimen. It appears from Hall's Chronicle, that mayors and aldermen of London died of this affliction within the space of week.
On the , the king's marriage with Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward the , by which the claims of the rival houses of York and Lancaster were united, was
|solemnized at , amidst the rejoicings of every class of people; yet Henry, whose hatred to the house of York was extreme, deferred the coronation of his queen for nearly years; but he was then obliged to bend to the general wish, and Elizabeth was crowned on the , within a few days after the king's return to London from quelling the insurrection of Lambert Simnel, who had personated the young Earl of Warwick, whom Henry, from the beginning of his reign, had kept closely confined in the Tower. The commotion was so general, that the king found it prudent to shew the Earl to the people, which he did, by causing him to ride through the principal streets of the city, in solemn procession to Saint Paul's Cathedral.|
In , Henry borrowed of the citizens, to enable him to furnish aid to the Duke of Bretagne, who was then at war with the French king; and this sum was the more cheerfully advanced, inasmuch as a loan of , which the king had required from the city soon after his accession, had been duly paid at the appointed time. This mode of obtaining money, however, was insufficient to supply the king's wants; and about the year , making a pretext of the war with France, he exacted great sums from his subjects in the way of benevolence, publishing, says Stow,
The sums thus obtained from the citizens amounted to near
The growing discontent which Henry's harsh government had excited among the people, was favorable to conspiracy; and about , a new claimant to the throne appeared, in whom the pages of history have denominated Perkin Warbeck, but who styled himself Richard, Duke of York, youngest son of Edward the . Whatever may be the fact as to the identity of Warbeck with the youth whom Richard is supposed to have had murdered in the Tower, the king found himself compelled to exert all his activity to avoid the threatened danger. The old Duchess of Burgundy had acknowledged Warbeck as her nephew, and many of the nobility covertly supported him: among others, was Sir William Stanley, the king's chamberlain, who, notwithstanding all the previous services which his family had rendered to Henry, was beheaded on , in ; though all that was proved against him was, his saying, that
About this period, the insatiable avarice of the king led him to
|commit many acts of oppression upon his subjects, through the agency of different profligate minions, who extorted money from his subjects by forfeitures upon penal laws.|
The remarkable instance of this kind was the case of Sir William Capel, an alderman of London, who, upon sundry penal laws, was condemned in a fine of ; but, by the powerful intercession of his friends, it was mitigated to . Yet, notwithstanding this severe and cruel usage, Empson, the infamous minister, intended to have made another attack on Sir Willlam for himself, had not his master died in the interim.
The great plenty of corn this year lowered wheat to the quarter; and white herrings were sold at the barrel.
The wicked and detestable crime of perjury having at this time greatly prevailed among the London juries, to the great dishonour of the city, it was therefore by parliament enacted, that for the future, no person or persons be impannelled or sworn into any jury or inquest in any of the city courts, unless he be worth ; and if the cause to be tried amount to that sum, then no person shall be admitted as a juror worth less than ; and every person so qualified, refusing to serve as a juryman, for the default to forfeit , the , and every after to double the sum for the use of the city.
And when upon trial it shall be found that a petty jury have brought in an unjust verdict, then every member of the same to forfeit , or more, according to the discretion of the court of lord mayor and aldermen; and also each person so offending to suffer months imprisonment, or less, at the discretion of the said mayor and aldermen, without bail or mainprize, and for ever after to be rendered incapable of serving in any jury.
And if upon enquiry it be found, that any juror has taken money as a bribe, or other reward, or promise of reward, to favour either plaintiff or defendant in the cause to be tried by him, then, and in every such case, the person so offending, to forfeit and pay to the party by him thus injured, times the value of such sum or reward by him taken, and also to suffer imprisonment as already mentioned, and besides, to be disabled from ever serving in that capacity; and that every person or persons guilty of bribing any juror, shall likewise forfeit times the value given, and suffer imprisonment as aforesaid.
In the latter end of , in a great council held at , was granted to the king for his defence against the Scots, or to enable Henry to repel the Scottish invasion, in favor of Perkin Warbeck, the sum of and in November was granted to the king a present by the city of ; and. on
|the following, a parliament began, whereby was granted dynies and a half, aids and fifteenths, to levy the former which was so much disliked by the nation, that it occasioned a rising in Cornwall. The rebels, spirited up particularly by Lord Audley, whom they made their general, marched to Wells; and thence marching into Kent, they encamped on Blackheath on the , threatening either to attack the king's army, or reduce the city of London. This news put all into the greatest commotion; but, by the indefatigable application of the mayor and sheriffs, the citizens were not only recovered from their panic, but likewise prevailed upon to arm in defence of the city; so that, in a short time, by erecting of batteries, and placing guards in proper places, they put it into such a formidable posture, as to be able to baffle all the attempts of their enemies: and the more immediately to remove the apprehensions of danger from the citizens, the king encamped for night in Fields. On the next day, , he attacked his foes by surprise, and entirely routed them, after a short contest. The ringleaders, Flammock and the farrier, were soon afterwards executed at Tyburn, and Lord Audley was beheaded on : the other prisoners were distributed among the captors, for them to dispose of their ransoms as they thought proper; and most of them compounded for their liberty at or a man.|
The king having entered into a league for the defence of Italy, the pope, as an evidence of his gratitude, sent, by his nuncio, as a present to Henry, a consecrated sword and a cap of maintenance; for whose magnificent reception, his majesty commanded the mayor and aldermen of this city to receive him at the bridge foot; on which occasion, the streets through which the cavalcade passed were richly embellished, and lined by the several companies in their formalities.
There was now such a dearth of corn, that wheat was sold at the quarter.
The impostor Perkin receiving advice of the king's advance towards him, was thereby so intimidated, he retired to Taunton, and thence fled for sanctuary to Beaulieu Abbey in the New Forest. He soon, however, submitted to the king, and was conducted in triumph through London to the Tower. Through an unsuccessful attempt to escape, he was afterwards exposed a whole day in the stocks in the at , and on the next day at the Cross, in , from whence he was reconveyed to the Tower. In the following year, he again engaged in an abortive attempt to free himself from captivity, together with the young Earl of Warwick, who had been years a prisoner: for this Henry caused him to be hanged at Tyburn,
|and within a few days afterwards, the Earl was decapitated on .|
In , the kingdom was visited by a dreadful plague; to avoid the ravages of which, the king and his court, after removing to various places, sailed to Calais. The number of persons carried off in the metropolis and its vicinity amounted to about .
On the , the king kept a
within the .
On the in the same year, says Stow, (speaking of Catherine of Spain)
In the same year, Sir John Shaw, the mayor, by a contribution from the several companies of the city, caused to be erected the kitchens and other offices at ; by the convenience of which, he entertained his brethren, the aldermen and principal citizens, at a very magnificent banquet in the said hall; which entertainments were formerly given at that of the Grocers'. The said mayor also caused his brethren the aldermen, to accompany him on horseback to the water side, to take barge to .
On the , the espousals of the Princess Margaret, by proxy, with James IV. of Scotland being published at Saint Paul's Cross, in London, it occasioned an incredible joy among the citizens, by making of bonfires, ringing of bells, and every thing else that contribute to the public rejoicings; for, by this match, the citizens apprehended that all causes of difference would be removed from between the nations, and a happy translation restored; whereby all dreadful and destructive wars for the future would be happily prevented, to the great advantage of both kingdoms.
The Taylors' Company in this same year purchased a charter of the king, by which they thenceforwards obtained the style of Merchant Taylors of the city of London.
The citizens, in the year , granted to the king for confirmation of their liberties; whereof they paid in hand, and covenanted to pay the other in the course of years; which is particularly levelled against the encroachments upon the liberties, franchises, and customs of the citizens by foreigners, in buying and selling, and concerning the qualifications of brokers, &c. in the same form as that of Edward III. dated , in the year of his reign, and that of I Richard II. confirmed by parliament, and is dated on the , in the year of his reign.
The archduke Philip, in right of his consort, having succeeded to the crown of Castile, set out with his queen from Flanders with a considerable fleet on his way thither; but meeting in the channel with a dreadful storm, was forced into Weymouth; from whence he came by land to Windsor, to pay his respects to King Henry, who from thence brought him to London to see his capital city; where they were entertained by the mayor and citizens with a pomp and magnificence proper for the accommodation of such illustrious guests. King Henry, being apprehensive of his approaching end, was seized with a remorse of conscience for his many, great, and grievous exactions; wherefore he attempted to bribe heaven with the spoils of his subjects, and to purchase favour of the Almighty, by making, as he vainly imagined, an atonement for his past crimes, by hastening the construction, and endowing various religious foundations with much greater alms than usual; and, at
|his own expense, discharged all the prisoners in London, whose debts did not exceed .|
Thomas Knesworth, who had been mayor years before, and Richard Shoare and Roger Grove, his sheriffs, were accused for abuses committed in their offices; for which they were dragged to the Marshalsea, and confined without any legal process, till they redeemed themselves with the payment of Also Christopher Haws, an alderman of London, was secured for some imaginary crime; but, being a timorous man, soon died of an excess of grief.
About the end of April died the Lord Mayor, Sir William Browne, mercer, and was succeeded by Sir Lawrence Aylemer; who, in the year following, was imprisoned by Henry's rapacious ministers, in order to extort a sum of money for his liberty; but the death of the king, which soon after happened, delivered him and many others from their troubles and apprehensions.
Henry, once more willing to honor the city of London, sent the mayor a letter, wherein he acquainted him with his having concluded a match between Charles, Prince of Castile (afterwards the great emperor Charles V.) and the Princess Mary, his youngest daughter. On which occasion, he commanded him to make all the public demonstrations of joy imaginable: expressing himself with all the signs of an unfeigned joy, by saying, that
Yet, nevertheless, his rapacious and infamous ministers, Empson and Dudley, continued their grievous extortions and oppressions of the people with the utmost rigor, by a prosecution of Sir William Capel, some time mayor of London, for a neglect in not discovering and prosecuting some false coiners; for which pretended crime, he was amerced in But, being a bold man, he would not submit to such vile and arbitrary proceedings, and instead of paying his fine, highly reflected on those iniquitous ministers, the authors of his troubles; for which he was committed to the Compter, and then to the , where he continued a prisoner during the king's life.
The odium excited by these acts the king sought to remove by an ostentatious display of charity, to which his apprehensions of the chances of another world unquestionably contributed. He endowed several religious foundations, gave considerable sums to the poor, &c. Still so excessive were the treasures he had amassed, that, on his decease, in , as appears from Lord Bacon's history of this prince, he left to the value of in money, plate, and jewels, locked up in secret vaults beneath his favorite palace of East Sheen, near Richmond.
 The first purports, all goods dropped by thieves and fugitive felons, when pursued, and goods lost when an owner cannot be found. The second implying all tame beasts strayed into a foreign lordship, which, not being reclaimed by the owner within a year and a day after their being legally cried in the neighboring market towns, they become the property of the lord of the manor wherein they were found. And the third signifies all hidden money, which, by the civil law, is given to the finder, but by the law of England is annexed to the crown; wherefore, the king disposes of it by grant at pleasure.
 Hall. Chron.
 In the eleventh volume of the Foedera, p. 712, is a record of the expence of Henry's maintenance in the Tower, with the daily allowance for ten persons waiting on him for fourteen days, amounting in the whole only to 4l. 5s., the expence of his own diet for three days cost but three shillings and ten-pence. In another record, on the same page, are the expenses of his funeral, which amounted but to £ 33. 6s. 8d., in which sum are included the fees of a priest, charges for linen cloth of Holland, and spices; fees to the torch-bearers who attended the corpse to St. Paul's, and thence to Chertsey; money paid to two soldiers of Calais, who watched the corpse, and for the hire of barges from London to Chertsey; and 8l. 12s. 3d. distributed in charity to different religious orders.
 Fabian p. 455
 Cot. Abrid. Rec.
 From the second charter, it appears that the office of chief butler of England had been granted to Earl Rivers, and that he claimed also the right of nominating a coroner for the city; but this latter office was now confirmed to the mayor and commonalty.
 Fabian. p. 461.
 Moore's Life Edw. V.
 As Jane Shore was thus openly accused, the Protector, to save appearances, had her examined before the council, on charges of sorcery, &c. brought against her by himself; yet she escaped condemnation, but that she was naught of her body; he caused the Bishop of London to put hir to open penance, going before the Crosse in procession upon a Sunday, with a taper in hir hand. In which she went in countenance and pace demure so womanly, and albeit she were out of all array, save hir kirtle only, yet went she so faire and lovely, namely, while the wondering of the people cast a comely rud in hir cheekes (of which she before had most misse) that hir great shame was hir much praise among those that were more amorous of hir body than curious of hir soul. And many good folke also that hated her living, and glad were to see sinne corrected, yet pitied they more hir penance, than rejoiced therein, when they considered that the Protector procured it more of a corrupt intent than any virtuous purpose. --Stow's Ann. p. 744.
 Maitland, i. 212.
 Brayley's London, i. 229.
 Stow's Ann. . 776.
 Stow's Ann. p. 784.
 Hist. of Eng. i. p. 651.
 Brayley's Lond. i. 230.
 Stow's Ann. p. 791.
 Ibid. p. 796.
 Maitland i. 219.
 Brayley's London, i, 233.
 Maitland, i. 219.
 Stow's Ann. p. 803.
|View all images in this book|
|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|