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

Allen, Thomas


Priory of St. Bartholomew.


On the east side of formerly stood the priory of S Bartholomew, founded by Rahere,

a pleasant witty gentleman, and therefore in his time called the king's jester,

or minstrel about or rather after the year , the of Henry I. for canons of the order of St. Augustine; himself became their prior, in , and so continued till his death, in .

In a very curious legend, as Mr. Malcolm calls it, concerning the pious founder Rahere, is the following:

And he havynge the title of desired possession of the kyng's maiestie, was right gladde.

Than nothynge he omyttyng of care and diligence, two werkys of pyte began to make; oone for the vowe that he hadde made, another as to hym by p«cepte was inioynde. Therfore the case prosp«ously succeded, and after the apostles word all necessaryes flowed unto the hande.

The chirche he made of cumly stoone work, tablewyse. And an hospital house a litell lenger of from the chirche by hymself he began to edifie. The churche was fowndid (as we have taken of oure eldres) in the moneth of Marche, in the name of oure Lorde Jhu Christ, in memorie of most blesside Bartholomew apostle, the yere from the incarnation of the same Lorde our Savyoure Mmo c.xiij. Thanne haldyng and rewlyng the holy see of Rome, mooste holy fader Pope Calixte the secunde.

P«sidente in the churche of Inglond, William, archebishoppe of Cawntirbury; and Richarde, byshoppe of London; the whiche of due lawe and right halowid that place yn the giste party of the forsayde felde (and byshoply auctoryte dedicate the same that tyme full breve and shorte) as a cymytery.

Regnyng the yonger son of William Rothy, first kynge of Englischmen yn the north, Herry the firste, xxxty yere, and a side half, the thirde yere of his reigne. To the laude and glorie of the hye and endyvyduall Trynyte; to him blessynge, thankynge, honoure, and empyer, worlde withowtyn ende. Amen.

Rahere having discovered by the confession of of the parties, that his enemies had confederated against him to take away his life, addressed himself to king Henry I., who took him under his protection; and in order thereto granted him a charter confirming all the liberties.

A very disgraceful scene was acted in this priory, so early as the reign of Henry the . Boniface, archbishop of Canterbury, a wrathful and turbulent man, elected to that see in , in his visitation came to this priory, to which he had no right, where being received with procession in a most solemn manner, he said, that he passed not upon honour, but came to visit them; to whom the canons answered that they having a learned bishop, ought not, in contempt of him, to be visited by any other. This answer so much offended the archbishop, that he forthwith fell on the subprior, and smote him on the face, saying,

Indeed! indeed! doth it become you English traitors so to answer me?

Thus raging with oaths, not to be recited, he rent in pieces the rich cope of the sub-prior, trod it under his feet, and thrust him against a pillar of the chancel with such violence, that he had almost killed him. The canons, seeing their sub-prior thus almost slain, came and pulled away the archbishop with such force, that they overthrew him backward, whereby they saw he was armed, and prepared to fight. The archbishop's attendants, who all were his countrymen, born in Provence, observing their master down, fell upon the canons, beat them, tore them, and trod them under foot. At length, the canons getting away as well as they could, ran bloody, miry, and torn, to the bishop of London to complain, who bade them go to the king, at , and tell him thereof; whereupon of them went thither; the rest were not able from being so much hurt; but when they arrived there, the king would neither hear nor see them, that they returned without redress. In the mean time the city was in an uproar, and ready to have rung the common bell, and to have hewed the archbishop in pieces, had he not escaped to . Here they pursued him, and not knowing him by sight, cried aloud,

Where is this ruffian, that cruel smiter? He is no

winner of souls, but an exacter of money, whom neither God nor any lawful or free election did bring to this promotion; but the king did unlawfully intrude him, being unlearned, a stranger born, and having a wife,

&c. But the archbishop conveyed himself over the river, and went to the king with a great complaint against the canons, whereas himself was guilty.
Spualia prioris Sancti Bartholomei.
London«. Pens« ejusd«m in ecclia sancti Michis de Bassyngshalle ij s. 
Ecclesia sancti Sepulcr« extra Newgate xij. 
Sum spualit«viij l.viii s.viii d.
Inde decima xvj s.xd. ob.
Medietas viij s.v 1/4d.
Tempalia ejusd«m prioris in pochiis London.   
Sancti Dunstani W xvij d.
Om« sanctor« de Honylane  lvij d.
Sancte Marie de Stanynglane xxv. s. 
Om« sanctor« ad Muros iiij s. 
Sancti Gregorii ii. s. 
Sancti Bartholomei pva viij s. 
Sancti Martini Oteswych xx s. 
Sancti Thomae Ap«li iij s. 
Sancte Mildreth de Walbrooke ij s.viij d.
Sancti Antonii xs. 
Sancti Bothi de Aldryshgate vij l.iij d.
Sancte Marie Wolnoth xv s. 
Sancte Margarete de Lothbury xij s.ij d.
Sancti Johis Zachary ij s. 
Sancte Agnetis ifra Alldrysshgate xiij s.iiij d.
Sancti Stephi in Judaissimo vij s.iiij d.
Sancti Martini in Ludgate lvi s.viij d.
Sancte Brigide iij d.
Sancti Petri in Tamusestrete viij s. 
Sancti Nichi ad Macellasxl l.0s.iij d.
Sancte Marie de Arcubsiiij l.x s. 
Sancti Dunstani Est xxiv s. 
Sancte Vedasti xxix s. 
Sancti Michis de Candelwykstrete vij s.x d.
Sancti Augustini ad Portam xviij d.
Sancti Lawrencii in Judaismo xxxv s.viij d.
Sancti Trinitates pve xxiv s. 
Sancti Mathei iij d.
Sancti Albani in Wodestrete v s. 
Sancte Marie de Aldermanbury iii s. 
Sci Andree de Holborne iis. 
Sancti Petri de Woodstrete lxiiij s. 
Sancti Alphegi vii d.
Sancti Michis de Cornehull xix s. 
Sancti Andree Baynard xviij s. 
Sancti Martini in Pomis lxviij s. 
Sancti Egidii ex Crepulgate xxxviij s.viij d.
Sancti Leonardi jux« Scm Martin« iij s. 
Sancti Olavi vi s. 
Sancti Benedicti de Woodenwharf lx s. 
Sancti Nichi Coldabbey vi s.viij d.
Sancte Marie Magdalene in Piscar« xi s.iv d.
Sancti Michis ad Bladum xiii s.iv d.
De Iseldon de terris & pratis xxxv s. 
Om« Sanctor de Bredstreet xxxvi s. 
Sancti Michis de Pat« nost« chirche iij s.iiij d.
Om« Sanctor de Grassechurche xxx s.iiij d.
Sancti Sepulcr« ex Newgatexv l.xviij s.ii d.
Sancti Michis de Hoggenlane xiii s. 
Suma pticular«lxxij l.v s.viij d.
Inde decimavij l.iii 3/4 d.
Medietasiij l.xij s.iij 3/4 d.
Tonstall«s spiritual benefices.
10 Aug. 14 Hen. VIII.
Monasterm Sci Barthoei Lond«Terre et possessiones 600 marc. bona 400 marc.mutum vl. p lras D. Regis.

It was surrendered Hen. VIII. and Dugdale gives it as worth per annum.

Mr. Malcolm cites particulars from the

Livre de les Rates,

and Philip and Mary, to shew how lands sold at that time.

St. Bartholomew's priory had possessions at Stanmore, Middlesex, containing 66 acres of arable, 24 of pasture, and 42 of meadow land, of the clear yearly value of 15l. It was rated for sir Thomas Rayland, knt. at 28 years purchase, 1557.

4s. 8d. 13s. 4d. and 6s. per annum received by the prior and convent from the Bear, in West Smythfield; the Bell, in the same place, and the Ferrer's house, in the parish of St. Sepulchre's, were sold at 20 years purchase.

Comput ministrorum Domini Regus temp. Hen. VIII. Nuper prioratus sancti Bartholomeei inWest Smithfieldjuxta civitatem London. Com« Midd«
Canbury-Firma maner«241611
Portepole-Firma diversorum camporum in parochia sancti Pancracij968
Acton-Firma maner1700
Hendon-Firma maner« vocat« renters6134
Stanmere magna--Firma maner«13134
Stanmere parva-Firma maner« de Canons1368
Stanmere parva-Firma dom« et edifice«2000
Stanmere parva-Firma de la Grene marshe et al«
Stanmere parva-Firma vocat« quarter lands400
Stanmere parva-Firma al« terr,« etc47311
Shardington-Firma terr.«0100
Corn« Essex«
Theydon Boyes-Firma rector«400
Langeley-Firma maner« vocat« Langeley hall600
Shortegrove-Firma maner«1000
Danbury-Pensio de abbate de Byleigh100
Walcombeston-Firma prat«100
Bradfeld-Firma rector«568
Corn« Suff«
Gorleston-Firma rector«800
Lowistafte, alias Leystoke-Firma rector«400
Wenmacston-Pens« monaster« de Blyborough1100
Corn« Norf.«
Corn« Hertf.«
Tewinge-Firma maner«2000
Sheuley-Firmamaner« de Holmes4134
S. Step«hi paroch«--Firma maner« de Walhall4134
Corn« Buck«
Mentmore-Firma rector«1800

. A grant was made of this place to Richard Riche.

We, the king, inconsideration of the sum of

1,064l. 11s. 3d.

grant, &c. to R. R. kt. chancellor of our court of augmentations of the revenues of our crown, the capital messuage and mansion house of the dissolved monastery, or priory of St. Bartholomew, and that close of the same called Great St. Bartholomew's, beginning, &c. We do likewise grant to R. R. kt. all those our messuages, houses, and buildings, called Le Fermery, Le Dorter, Le Frater, Les Cloysters, Les Galleries, Le Hall, Le Kitchen, Le Buttry, Le Pantry, Le olde Kitchen, Le Woodehouse, Le Garner, and Le prior's stable, situate within the close aforesaid, as they appertained to the monastery.

The king gives the service of hundredth part of a knight's fee, and reserved rent of from a tenement granted to John Williams, of Rycote, in the county of Oxford, knt. and Edwarde Northe, kt. of London, in the above close. Also tenements, with their appurtenances, within the precincts of the great close


belonging to the priory; and messuages, and tenements, with stables belonging to the same; and further, the reversion of the said messuages, &c. within the limits of the monastery; also the water of the conduit head of St. Bartholomew, within the manor of Canbery, co. Midd. as enjoyed by prior Bolton and his predecessors.

Then follows a grant of the fair of St. Bartholomew, as when in possession of the prior and convent, which is still held.

The seal of this priory was circular, with a representation of St. Bartholomew seated, having the deed of foundation in his right hand, and a knife uplifted in his left; behind him is an ecclesiastical edifice with finials formed of fleur de lys. Legend. The counter seal represents a ship, with an octangular tower and crocketted spire in a boat; on side of the church is , on the other . The legend is . On the accession of Mary a new seal was made; it was of an oval form, and represented St. Bartholomew with a broad knife in his light hand, and an open book in his left; above him was a dome canopy with drapery. The legend

other seals belonging to this priory have been engraved in the Archaelogia.

The church and ruins were evidently constructed at different periods. They must be sought among stables, carpenters' and farriers' shops. The sound of hammers now resound through those arches where the solemn chaunt only echoed in soft response; and where the measured step of the silent monk paced in slow movements.

The cloisters shew the workmanship of the latter portion of the century; the whole remains consist of arches, groined in a beautiful style; large bosses remain perfect

; has


small figures, the martyrdom of St. Lawrence; the bears the implements of our Saviour's passion, viz. the cross and crown of thorns; the pillar, and scourges; the nails; the reed and sponge: the boss is sculptured with a picture of the legend of St. Nicholas; it represents the miracle of resuscitation performed on children who had been previously killed and salted; and the is a subject quite unintelligible.

The east cloister which is the only perfect portion, is feet long, and broad. The court leads to the close, where we find a modern square; and though we are now directly facing the refectory, not a vestige of antient architecture is visible, that part which projects into the close being faced with brick. The windows are transformed into large ones of the present fashion. The length is feet, by in breadth.

The roof is very strong, and full of timber, and remains nearly as it was when the refectory.

In the north-east corner of the square, a passage has been cut through the cellars; and here the strength and solidity of the walls may be seen, with massy arches, and stout groins.

At the south end of the east cloister there was a space feet by , probably a court, through which the brethren passed to and from the refectory. The above passage turns to the north, where part of the old walls and a battered window that formerly lighted the vaults are still to be seen.

The lesser close contained the prior's stables; their exact site is not known. A gateway was standing within the memory of man leading to the wood-yard, kitchens, &c. An ancient mulberry tree grew near it, and beneath its branches the good wives and maids of the parish were wont to promenade. Houses have usurped their place.

The dissenting place of worship called Bartholomew's chapel, is set against the east end of the priory, not far from the choir. In a corner of this chapel, there used to be seen, some years back, a very antique piece of sculpture, representing the figure of a priest, with a child in his arms, (probably Simeon with the infant Christ); and several niches. Beneath it, is a strong wall once forming a communication between the close and the cloisters; it is traditionally styled a dungeon, but the remains of the architecture in a single trefoil canopy with sculptured capitals in the taste of the century, shew that the building must have been above ground. It is occupied as a depository for mahogany veneer, &c. and is approached through an alley, on the right hand of which is the entrance to

The Protestant Dissenting Charity School, supported by voluntary contributions.

It was of the apartments erected by Bolton, and still exists in nearly a perfect state; it is now divided into apartments; the walls are wainscotted with small pannels, each contains a curious scroll-formed ornament; the roof is also of timber, and pannelled into


square compartments; at the points of intersection are flowers; at the east end is a large window with wooden mullions; it is bounded by a low pointed arch, on of the spandrils of which is the device of Bolton. In the window is a shield with many quarterings; the arms of Rich a chevron between crosses, is the only perfect; the same appear on the front of a house in Cloth-fair. The school partly extends over the vestry of the church, and the south porch (in ruins), and the domestic apartments of the master of the school comprise the actual gallery erected by prior Bolton, which communicated with the church as before noticed. The chapter-house, feet in length, and in breadth, occupied the angle formed by the south transept and the aisle of the choir, and communicated with the former by a large semi-circular arch; the original pilasters, buttresses, and the small square masonry of the Norman architecture of the church is well preserved in this place, and a pointed door communicating with the church exists in the south wall of the latter, and at the east end of the chapter-house are remains of columns in the early pointed style; eastward, in a portion called the south porch, is the upper part of a window of the century. It is at present filled with logs of mahogany.

The prior's house is perfect in the outline, but a great deal of the original finishing is wanting. It is a massive building, incorporated with the east end of the chancel, whose walls exceed in strength and thickness those of many modern fortifications. The south side is supported by buttresses; but the whole has been patched and altered to such a degree that we should hardy guess its designation.

The vast flight of stairs remain, and they are literally wide enough for a coach and horses. At the top is the


The mark of a partition is visible, and small fire places. The length of the house is feet. The ground and floors were probably occupied by the prior, and the attic by the brethren. It is now inhabited by a cabinet-maker.

The earth has been much raised round the church, occasioning a descent of several steps. The parochial school is of the buildings of Prior Bolton; it is situated on the north side of the church, and like the Dissenters' school extends over the aisle. The houses project so much before this place, that they are within feet of their opposite neighbours at the tops.


[] Malcolm's Londinium Red. vol. I 271.

[] Harl. MSS.

[] Office of the First Fruits.

[] Appendant to a deed, dated Sept. 25, 1395. 16th Rich. II.

[] Engraved in the Archaelogia. vol. xv, p. 400.

[] Vol. xix. p. 49.

[] Malcolm, i. p. 287.

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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