Farringdon Without History of the Most Interesting Places, Leading Events; and Some Account of the Eminent Men connected therewith, since the year 1600

Francis, Adolphus Decimus


TO the thoughtful mind, has always been pregnant with intellect, and replete with notabilities, even from the earliest times. We find in , Sir Francis Child, one of the first bankers established in London, alderman of this ward, and lord mayor of London: the ancestor of the Earls of Westmoreland and the Earls of Jersey: two of his sons: Sir Robert and Sir Francis Child followed in his footsteps, both becoming aldermen, Sir Francis attaining the dignity of lord mayor in . To them succeeded Sir Richard Hoare as alderman, also a banker, who was made mayor in ; then came Alderman Richard Beckford, who died before he reached the civic chair. His son William Beckford wrote an Arabian tale called "Vathek," at one sitting: a work Lord Byron pronounced, for correctness of costume, beauty of description,


and power of imagination, the most Eastern and sublime tale ever written. Alderman Sir F. Gosling succeeded Beckford, in , but died before reaching the mayoralty; he was followed by John Wilkes, who, elected alderman , was lord mayor . Wilkes may be considered the father of city liberty, and the upholder of city independence. To him succeeded Sir Charles Price, Bart., likewise a banker, mayor in ; and he was followed by the great and good Alderman Robert Waithman, lord mayor in . James Harmer was elected alderman in , and it is sufficient to say he was the proprietor of the "Weekly Dispatch," one of the oldest liberal newspapers in England. He did not reach the highest civic honours. Sir James Duke, Bart., was mayor in ; he has enjoyed the aldermanic distinction since , having presided over the ward during crises of great pith and moment, with dignity all his own, and with suavity which has won for him the respect and esteem of the whole ward, comprising nearly one-fifth of the electors of the entire city.

In the year , one William Farendon, or Farndone, (liber Albus Faryngdone,) an opulent goldsmith, purchased or leased of Edward I., through Ralph le Feore, the then holder, the right to the aldermanry of this ward, thenceforth called by his name, which the transition of language, natural to the march of refinement and euphony, has merged into Farringdon." Farendon's lease ran eighty years, and


during that period was enjoyed in fief by his descendants,who paid annually, at Easter, in token of vassaldom, a gilly-flower, or July flower (garofolo, nut), then most rare.

"Sir, let us take a walk down Fleet Street," and from the nethermost western end we will perambulate the ward together.