The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3

Allen, Thomas


Grocers Hall.


The site of the present hall is situated on the north side of the Poultry, within an enclosed court, the entrance to which is a long narrow passage, now called Grocers-alley, which was anciently called


from the sign of conies, [rabbits], hanging over a poulterer's stall at the lane end; or more properly, as the historian has spelt it in the same page,


Coney-shop-lane. At the upper end of this lane, or rather between it and the Poultry compter, was the chapel of Corpus Christi, and St. Mary, which was founded, says Stow, by a citizen named


in the reign of Edward the , and to which belonged a guild or fraternity, that

might expend


by the year

. This foundation was suppressed by Henry the , and afterwards purchased by--Hobson, a haberdasher, who

turned the chapel into a fair warehouse, with shops towards the street, and lodgings over them. Not a vestige of this building remains.

The site of the present hall with the

building thereupon,

was originally purchased by the company, in the year , for the sum of , of the baron, Robert Fitz-Walter, hereditary castellan-baronneret, or standard-bearer, to the city of London. Here they immediately laid the foundation of a stately hall, which being mostly destroyed by the fire of London, was rebuilt

with a Gothic front and bow window:

the charge for the great parlour and court-room being defrayed by sir John Cutler, who was times master of the company. In that edifice were kept the accounts, and the business transacted of the , from the time of its incorporation till its removal into , in . The present hall was built upon the ancient site between the years and , from designs, by Mr.


Leverton, architect; and though not a splendid fabric, is well adapted to its inclosed situation. It is chiefly constructed of brick, but the basement story is faced with stone, and the entrance porch is ornamented with rustic work. From the base rise pair of stone pilasters, of the Tuscan order, between which range the principal windows), supporting an architrave and cornice of the same material.

At the present time () this hall is undergoing a thorough repair under the direction of J. Gwilt, esq, F. S. A. The company possess portraits of the following personages: sir Thomas Chichely, sir Robert Ladbroke, lord mayor, , and the right hon. William Pitt. Mr. Brayley also noticed the following paintings in the possession of the company; sir John Cutler, hart. sir John Moore, lord mayor , and sir John Fleet, lord mayor .

On the site of Grocers-hall, stood the Poultry compter, a heavy brick edifice, which was pulled down previous to the erection of the new prison in .

On the south side of is a handsome house, at present occupied by Mr. Tegg, an eminent bookseller. It was erected from a design by sir Christopher Wren in -.

The front is decorated with a profusion of ornament; it consists of stories above the ground floor, besides an attic, which retires behind the line of the front. The shop front, added by the present possessor, assimilates in its decorations with the older portion of the building: the upper stories have a slightly marked centre, with a balcony of stone above the floor window; all the windows are inclosed within richly ornamented architraves, and the stories are decorated by cornices sustained on ante. The upright of the principal elevation is finished with a bold frieze of acanthus leaves, surmounted by a cornice, which over the centre division is broken by a segmental pediment. The attic is in a plainer style.

The materials are brick with stone dressings; the plane surfaces have been covered with composition which, from its age, presented a dilapidated appearance before the house was taken by the present proprietor in , who restored the whole (under the direction of G. Smith, esq.), in a highly satisfactory manner.

Honey-lane market, which is partly in the ward of Cheap, and partly in that of Cripplegate, is the smallest market in the city, being only feet from east to west, and feet from north to south. In the centre is a large square market-house, standing on pillars, with rooms over it, and a bell tower in the middle. Here are also a number of standing stalls for butchers, fruiterers, &c. and the passages into the market are inhabited by poulterers, and other dealers in provisions.

This market occupies the site of churches, burnt down in ; viz. that of , , which belonged to Cripplegate-ward, and that of Allhallows, Honey-lane, in this ward, which stood where the east end of the market now is. It is


a rectory, the advowson of which belongs to the grocers' company, who, since the union with , and , Soper-lane, present in turn with the archbishop of Canterbury.

The church of , Soper-lane, stood on the north side of , and took its name from its dedication to , a young Phrygian nobleman, who for his strict adherence to the Christian faith, suffered martyrdom at Rome, under the emperor Dioclesian, and from its vicinity to Soper-lane, now . It is a rectory, the patronage of which was in the prior and canons of Canterbury, till they granted the advowson to Simon, the archbishop, in the year ; since which time, it has remained in the archbishops of that see. Over part of the site of this church formerly stood a cistern to receive water, which came to the great conduit at the east end of .

On the same side of , a little further to the east, stood the parish church of St. Bennet, Sherehog, which is said to derive its name from Benedict Shorne, a fishmonger, who rebuilt it. It was originally dedicated to St. Osyth, a queen and martyr; but the ambition of this disciple of St. Peter, was superior to his gallantry; he therefore ousted the female saint, and procured the tutelage of the church, by the name of St. Bennet, or Benedict, though his canonization is doubtful. The additional epithet is a corruption of his surname, which was gradually changed to Shrog, Shorehog, and, at length to Sherehog. After the fire in , this parish was united in that of St. Stephen, Wallbrook. It is a rectory, the patronage of which was in the prior and convent of St. Mary, Overy's, in , till their dissolution, when it came to the crown; in which it still continues.

Against the wall is the following inscription:--







Bucklesbury, corruptly called , received its name from Buckle, lord of the manor, who resided and kept his court, in a spacious stone building, called the Old Barge, from such a sign being in front of it. The site of his mansion is now occupied by Barge-yard; to which place, according to tradition, boats and barges came from the Thames, up the Wallbrook, when its navigation was open.

Opposite to Barge-yard, on the north side of , was a royal mansion, denominated Sernes, or Sewete's Tower. In , king Edward III. constituted this his exchange, or market-place, for bullion; and, in , he granted it, with all its appurtenances, to the dean and canons of the collegiate church of Stephen, . At the west end of the Poultry, where meets


, formerly stood the great conduit, which was erected for the reception of water, conveyed hither from Paddington, by leaden pipes under ground. It was castellated with stone, and cisterned with lead. It was began in , Henry Wallets being mayor, and rebuilt by Thomas Ilame, of the sheriffs, in . It was taken down after the great fire, and not rebuilt.

New was formerly called Sopar-lane. By the assent of Stephen Abunden, mayor, the pepperers in Sopar's-lane were admitted to sell all such spices and other wares as grocers use now to sell, retaining the old name of pepperers in Sopars-lane; till at length, in the reign of Henry VI. the said Sopars-lane was inhabited by cordwainers and curriers: after that, the pepperers or grocers had seated themselves in the more open street, in , where they remained for many years.

By a passage in an old book, printed in Henry VII«s reign, it appears, that Sopars-lane was a noted place where pies were made, and set forth to be sold, when spices were so near at hand.

Thou must, at Eastre, receive the God of Antichrist; and thou must buy it, and pay for it, as men some time bought pies in Soperlane.

Tallow-chandlers had their shops also hereabouts; the smell of whose trade, it seems, was so nauseous in the chief street of the city, that they were appointed to remove thence, and remain elsewhere in the city.

At the upper end of Sopar's-lane, in , was the common place of standing to see great shews; as, when kings and queens, princes, or foreign ambassadors passed along towards , or from through London towards the Tower. Here was a parcel of land called

The great Field of the Street,

some time in the tenure of the lady Catharine Dormer, widow: this, under that name, together with other things, was sold to sir Robert Cholmley, knt. in the of Edward VI.

On the east side of Guildhall-yard is the Irish chamber, a plain but neat edifice of brick. In the office is a painting of the right hon. T. Harley, mayor in , by Hardy; and in the court room are portraits of the following gentlemen , Brass Crosby, esq. mayor, ; H. C. Coombe, esq. mayor, , by Opie; J. T. Thorpe, esq. mayor, , by sir W. Beechey; and J. Slade, esq. by Opie: the last portrait painted by that highly gifted man. In the ante-room are portraits of R. Alsop, esq.mayor, ; and P. Le Mesurier, mayor .

Numerous notices of shows, and processions, tournaments, &c. that have distinguished Cheap from the earliest period, have appeared in the historical portion of this work. We will conclude the history of this ward with the following extract from Chaucer; it contains a sprightly notice of the place, as well as a delightful sketch of a :--


A prentice whilom dwelt in our citee,

And of a craft of vitaillers was he;

Gaillard he was, as goldfinch in the shawe,

Broune as a bery, a propre short felawe:

With lokkes blake, kembed ful fetisly.

Dancen he coude so wel and jolily.

That he was cleped Perkin Revelour.

He was as ful of love and paramour,

As is the hive ful of honey swete;

Wel was the wenche with him mighte mete.

At every bridale would he sing and hoppe

He loved bet the taverne than the shoppe.

For whan therany riding was in CHEPE,

Out of the shoppe thider wold he lepe,

And til that he had all the sight ysein,

And danced wel, he wold not come agein;

And gadred him a meinie of his sort,

To hoppe and sing, and maker swiche disport.

The Cokes Tale, p. 170, vol. i. Canterbury Tales, by Tyrwhitt, ed. 1775.


[] Lamentation against the city of London, printed 1505.

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 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: The site, extent, buildings, population, commerce, and a view of the progressive increase of London
 CHAPTER II: List of the parishes and churches in London, with their incumbents, &c
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of Aldersgate Ward
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of Aldgate Ward
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of Bassishaw Ward
CHAPTER VI: History and Topography of Billingsgate Ward
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of Bishopsgate Ward, Without and Within
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of Bread-street Ward
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of Bridge Ward Within
CHAPTER X: History and Topography of Broad-street Ward
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of Candlewick Ward
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of Castle Baynard Ward
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of Cheap Ward
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of Coleman-street Ward
CHAPTER XV: History and Topography of Cordwainer's-street Ward
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of Cornhill Ward
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Ward Within
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Yard Without
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topography of Dowgate Yard
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of Farringdom Ward Within
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of Farringdon Ward Without
CHAPTER XXII: History and Topography of Langbourn Ward
CHAPTER XXIII: History and Topography of Lime-street Ward
CHAPTER XXIV: History and Topogrpahy of Portsoken Ward
CHAPTER XXV: History and Topography of Queenhithe Ward
CHAPTER XXVI: History and Topography of Tower Ward
CHAPTER XXVII: History and Topography of Vintry Ward
CHAPTER XXVIII: History and Topography of Wallbrook Ward