The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
Collegiate Church of St. Martin's-le-Grand.
It is a matter of no small difficulty to produce any conclusive evidence of the period when the church of St. Martin was founded; it must, however, have existed before the time of Ingelric and his brother Girard, who are designated by the conqueror's charter as its founders.
Tanner in his Notitia, mentions, that in the margin of the register of the College deposited in the library of the abbey of , and which was written as late as the reign of Henry VI., Wythred, king of Kent, is named as its founder; but every other authority consulted being silent on this head, and Wythred having founded the priory of St. Martin at Dover, which from its pre-eminence in that place was also styled , Mr. Kempe conceives the truth of this assertion to be at least very doubtful.
That there was a building erected on the site of , and devoted to worship by the early Christians, is rendered extremely probable by the bull of pope Clement, reciting the church to be among those exempted from episcopal jurisdiction, because they were founded before bishops were ordained in the kingdom, and episcopal jurisdiction had been usurped over them, during times of civil commotion,
The royal and free chapel, which, from an early period, there is
|no doubt had existed, dedicated to St. Martin (who appears to have been a favourite with the early British Christians, many churches considered of the highest antiquity being dedicated to him), found, in the reign of the Confessor, noble and munificent benefactors in Ingelric, earl of Essex, and his brother Girard, who, in all probability, erected a more extensive and important structure on the spot, as a church, endowing it with lands for the maintenance of secular canons. This took place in , the of the reign of Edward the Confessor.|
On the defeat of Harold at Hastings, and the extinguishment of the Saxon dynasty, Ingelric appears to have lost his possessions in Essex, which were conferred by the Conqueror on Eustace, earl of Boulogne. The historian before quoted, who has so ably explored the early history of this ancient precinct, says, he is
After the conquest, the bishop of London exerted himself to obtain for the canons of the protection of William, in which he was successful, as appears by the ample confirmation of their privileges granted to them in the year of his reign.
This charter, which confirmed to the canons of their lands in Essex, including the church of Mealdon, with hides of land, and
They were also exempted, by the same instrument, from every royal imposition of service. This charter was written both in Latin and Saxon.
Eustace, earl of Boulogne, before mentioned, did not confirm Ingelric's endowment, but retained the lands in Essex to his own use, citing the conqueror's gift as his authority, and claiming, by the same right, a jurisdiction over the church; the Norman earl, however, providing for the health of his soul, resolved to restore certain lands to the
All these grants were confirmed by his successor. During the period that Matilda, the haughty queen of Stephen, held the rein of power, she issued the following :--
Subsequently Stephen granted to the canons of St. Martin all the liberties conceded by the conqueror, and immunity from complaints of
also a charter of free warren, or property over game in their lands in Essex.
After the capture of Stephen, at the battle of Lincoln, Matilda, to avenge herself on the citizens of London, for the attachment which they had shown to his cause, made Geoffrey de Mandeville sole justiciary of the city of London, and the county of Middlesex. The and sheriffwicks of London and Middlesex were let to him at a stipulated rent: while he occupied the fortress just mentioned, he issued a charter, in reparation of injuries which the church of had sustained from him, as earl of Essex.
In , Henry de Blois, bishop of Winchester and dean of , formed, with the sanction of the earl of Boulogne, a constitution of their prebends.
On the death of this eminent churchman and politician, Godfrey de Lucy succeeded to the deanery. To him was probably addressed a papal bull, in which the bishop of Rome confirmed, in the most ample manner, all their present and future possessions.
In we find the dean and chapter complained to the king that the mayor and sheriffs of London obstructed their privileges, denied the jurisdiction of their courts over their tenants, impleaded and compelled them to answer vexatious pleas in the city courts. Henry addressed his brief to the civic officers, commanding that the collegiate church should be suffered freely to exercise all such privileges as she had heretofore enjoyed.
Little occurred for a considerable period worthy the notice of the historian, if we except the bickerings between the dean and chapter, and the corporation of London, respecting the disgraceful right of sanctuary, and the great immunities possessed without either paying scot or lot. On the , the celebrated William of Wykeham was appointed dean, which he held only years. During the rebellion of Wat Tyler, numbers that sought sanctuary within the precinct, were forced even from the high altar, and decapitated in . On the accession of Henry IV, in , the citizens, who had long regarded the privileges of with jealousy, more especially the
|sanctuary, petitioned against it as a receptacle of murderers, thieves, and fraudulent debtors, praying that its privileges might be annulled. The answer given was, that the king would grant a remedy, if possible. But the veneration so long paid to the privileges of the church, and the numerous royal grants and papal bulls made in its favour, formed too strong a barrier, and the sanctuary continued in the plenitude of its power.|
In we find Thomas Bourchier, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, dean of this church. About this period the citizens began to dispute the privileges of sanctuary claimed by the canons of , for their precinct. Soon after a grand attack was made on this place, and various other privileged places, by the sheriffs Philip Malpas and Robert Marchall, which is noticed in another part of this work. During the agitation of this question, the sheriffs brought forward some atrocious cases. Among them are the following:--
In the of the reign of Edward II., Robert Stody murdered a woman, took sanctuary in , and afterwards made his escape.
In the of Edward III. John Frowe, of Lincoln, on account of an old grudge, dogged Robert Dodmerton, a mason, with a drawn dagger in his hand, and when near the gate of , stabbed him mortally in the neck, and immediately took sanctuary in the precinct. Still the power of the royal grants and custom was an overmatch for justice, and the sheriffs were fined, and their prisoners remanded back to the sanctuary. On the suppression of the insurrection headed by Jack Cade in , some of the factious ringleaders repaired hither, and took sanctuary; among them was William Cayme, of the principal traitors; the advisers of the king persuaded him to demand the delivery of Cayme to the royal officers; but the wary dean had already secured him in the prison of the sanctuary, and producing hid old answer, the royal grants, bulls, &c., declined complying with the royal mandate. The matter was discussed in the council chamber, and it was ultimately agreed that the king should not break the immunities conferred by the royal prerogative, but recommended that the traitor should be kept close from committing further mischief.
Some time after, an occurrence took place, in which the dean again protected his rights and privileges, and afterwards took care to have the whole of this matter circumstantially recorded.
During the war between the rival houses of York and Lancaster, the inhabitants of this precinct were more daring and obnoxious than ever to the city; at last, the conduct of the sanctuarymen had arisen to such a height of audacity, that the lord mayor and aldermen, putting themselves at the head of the citizens, forced the gates, and bore off several of the ringleaders. The dean preferred his complaint for breach of privilege, as on former occasions, to the king, but this time the citizens were directed to keep their prisoners until the matter could be more strictly investigated. Soon after, these enormities produced the following articles, enacted by the king's council, for the better government of the sanctuary of .
The of Feverer, the yeere of the reigne of our Soveraigne lord king Henry VI. : at , in the sterre-chamber, our said soveraigne lord, calling to high remembrance the good and blessed entent that his full noble progenitors have at all times had to the honour, worship, conservation, and wele of the free chapel of within the city of London, of the which the king our sovereign lord is founder and patron: desiring to do all that may serve to the ease and restful roule of the same; and conservation of the sanctuary, immunity, privileges, and liberties, as appertain to the said chapel and place; willing, that hereafter none occasion be geven to the breach or hurting them: remembring also the great complaints, grudging, and displeasure, that his subjects have taken, and especially the citizens and commonalty of the said city of London, of the demeaning of the misruled persons coming and abiding in the said place, under umbre and colour of the sanctuary there; the which have, at divers times, issued out of the sanctuary and committed many ryots, robberies, manslaughters, and other mischiefes; were through the said sanctuary hath been greatly dislaundered, and (over that) great inconvenience like to ensue.
After great deliberation and communication had, as well with doctors of divinity as of law, civil and canonicall; called also
|thereto the judges of this our land, and their advices had in that behalfe; other men also of great wisdome and experience, for the weale and conservation of the said sanctuary, and to eschew the said misgovernance and mischief, called also before our said soveraigne lord and his councell, the maior and the aldermen of said city, and Master Richard Cawdre, dean of the said place of ; our soveraigne lord (by the advice of his councell aforesaid) ordained, granted, and established certain articles under-written, to bee kept and observed within the said sanctuary from this time forth, without any interruption of them. Willing and ordaining, that the said deane that now is, promis by his oath the observance of the same, for the time that hee shall bee deane there. And that every deane after him, in his admission to the said deanary, be sworne to keepe the said articles in semblable wise, and make them to bee kept within the said sanctuary; the which articles beene such as follow:|
. , that every person fugitive comeing into the said sanctuary for tuition, and challenge to enjoy the immunities and privileges thereof; at his entrie, as soone as hee commodiously and reasonably may, shall now present himselfe unto the said deane, his commissarie, or depute in that behalfe; and before him declare the cause of the feare moving him to come to the said sanctuare; be it for treason, felony surmised upon him, or for other causes. And that the said declaration and cause bee registered in the common register, ordained therefore in the said sanctuary, and the name of the said fugitive.
. Item, that hee, at his entree, present and deliver unto the said deane, commissarie, or depute, all manner of weapon and armour, that hee bringeth with him, as well invasive as defensive; and that he be not suffered to weare or use any such weapon or armour, or it to have in his keeping within the sanctuary in any wise, except a reasonable knife, to kerve withall his meate, and that the said knife be pointlesse.
. Item, that every erraunt and open theefe, robber, murderer, and felon, notoriously noised by the common fame of the people; or if the said deane, commissary, or depute be credibly informed, or due proofe be geven or made, that he is such , repairing to the said sanctuary, to the intent that he shall not (under colour of the said sanctuary) intend to doe further mischiefe, find sufficient seurte to bee made unto the king, as well by his own obligation, as by the obligation of other, of his good bearing for the time of his abode within the said sanctuary, and for a quarter of a yeere after his departing out of the same: and that hee bee kept in ward into the time he have found and made the said seurte. And if it so be, that it be complained or shewed unto the king's highnesse, that the said suerte bee not sufficient; that then, at the commandment of the said councell (if it bee thought necessary), the said deane, commissary, or depute, shall take
|other and better secrete, or else commit them to ward unto the time better securete bee found. Foreseene alway, that if the said fugitive will depart out of the said sanctuary, that hee may do so when hee will.|
. Item, That all the out-gates, as well posternes, doores, as all other issues outward, whatsoever they be, of the said sanctuary, bee surely closed and shut nightly at of the clocke; and so remaine shut from the same houre unto sixe of the clocke in the morning, from the feast of Allhallows unto the feast of Candlemasse; and the remanent of the yeere, nightly, from the said houre of unto foure of the clocke in the morning, or unto the time the masse beginneth within the said place: and that all those that been fled to the said sanctuary for treason or felony, be within the closure on nights time.
. Item, If any such theefe, murderer or felon, resort to the said sanctuary for tuition of the same, with any manner robbery, or stollen goods, if the party robbed make fresh sute therefore, and prove by open evidence, that the same felon hath brought into the said sanctuary the said goods so stolen thence, the said deane, commissary, or depute, shall put in true devoir, withouten any dissimulation, fraud, or malengyne, to make full restitution unto the party so grieved of the said stolen goods, if they can bee had. And semblably, if any fugitive come to the said sanctuary with other mens' goods, merchandize, or things, intending there to live with the same, and the owner of the said goods, merchandize, or things, make proofe that they be his, and verifie that they be brought into the said sanctuary, the said deane, commissarie, or depute, shall put him in full devoire, to make restitution to the party so proving that the same goods, merchandizes, or things were his. And no fugative, nor none dwelling within the said sanctuary, shall receive, conceale, nor buy any such goods; but that they bee brought to the said deane, commissary, or depute, to the intent that the owners may have the sooner knowledge of them. And if the said goods so stolen and brought to the said sanctuary be concealed from the said deane, commissary, or depute, and brought by any dwelling in the said sanctuary, that then the buyer (abiding there) make restitution or satisfaction to the party grieved, proving the said goods so stolen to bee his, and so sold in the same sanctuary.
. Item, If any person, having tuition of the said sanctuary, from thence issue out by day or by night, and commit or do any robbery, murder, treason, or felony, or battery, so done (withouten forth) commit the same misdoer to ward, there to remaine as long as he will abide in the sanctuary. And if so bee hee will depart from thence, he shall depart at an hour to be assigned unto him by day, betwixt sunne and sunne.
. Item, That subtle pickers of locks, counterfeitours of keys, contrivers of seals, forgers of false evidences, workers of
|counterfeit chaines, beades, brouches, ouches, rings, cups, spoons silvered, and plates of copper gilt, uttered for gold, unto the common hurt of the people, be not suffered in the said sanctuary. And if any, being within the said sanctuary, be holden suspect of the things abovesaid, let him be committed to ward till he find sufficient surety, as in the article abovesaid.|
. Item, That common putuers, strumpets, and bawdes, be not suspected in the sancuary: and if they claime the tuition of the said sanctuary, that they be set in open ward on day times, till shame cause them to depart, or to amend their vicious living.
. Item, That deceitful games, as playes at hazard, the dice, the guek, the kayelles, the cloysh, and other such unleefull and reproveable games, bee not used, supported, nor cherished within the said sanctuary.
. Item, That all artificers dwelling within the said sanctuary (as well barbours as other) keepe holy the Sundayes, and other great festival dayes, without breach, or exercising of their craft, in such wise as done the inhabitants of the said city of London. And if they doe the contrary, to bee committed to ward till they finde sufficient surety, as in the article above said, to use their crafts in manner and forme as doe the inhabitants of the said city, and according to the ordinances of the same city.
. Item, That every person coming to the said sanctuary for immunity and tuition of the same, that hee, at his admission to the said sanctuary, be sworne on a booke to obey, keepe, and observe the articles above-said, and every each of them, with their pains and rules appertaining to the same. And the king, by the advice aforesaid, would, granted, and ordained, that this act be exemplified under his great seale, and be enrolled in his chancellary; to tho intent, that the ordinance above said remaine of record, and that his subjects may have knowledge thereof.
During the reign of Richard the many great though unfortunate persons took sanctuary within the precincts of ; among them were the countess of Oxford, and Morton, bishop of Ely.
In , the of Henry VII. a bull of Julius II. directed that persons suspected of treason, and taking refuge in sanctuary, might be seized and delivered to justice upon the mere suspicion.
Henry VII. intended to erect a chapel behind the high altar of the abbey church , and to endow it as a chantry, wherein daily orisons should be sung for the souls of himself, his queen, and all christian people.
In execution of the above purpose, the chapel that bears his name was erected and dedicated to the holy Virgin. Estates of more than a in yearly value, were granted to the abbot in support of the new institution. The advowson and possessions of the deanery of , with other royal free chapels, and their appurtenances were given to him and his successors for the same purpose for ever.
The abbots of now assumed the office of deans of , and the duties of the prebends were performed by vicars of their appointment. A new official seal was prepared, which bore for its legend, .
The jurisdiction of being merged in that of , little worthy notice occurs, if we except the restrictions passed, regulating the privilege of sanctuary. By a statute Henry VIII. it was enacted
Henry VIII. also passed an act debarring persons accused of high treason from the benefit of the sanctuary, and that sanctuary men should wear badges, and not go abroad before sun rising, or after sun-setting.
The privilege of taking sanctuary was repealed in the of James I. and the superstitious statute against witchcraft re-enacted!
In , the . of the reign of Edward VI. all charities, free
|chapels, and brotherhoods were granted to the king; and by this act the venerable fabric of being at the disposal of the crown was levelled with the ground, and a number of new buildings erected on its side, which let at high rents to foreigners who claimed the privileges attached to the precinct, and exercised their callings without molestation from the city. In the reign of Elizabeth, the inhabitants of liberty were chiefly French, Germans, Dutch, and Scots: the trades carried on, those of shoemakers, tailors, makers of buttons and button moulds, goldsmiths, manufacturers of pouches or purses, stationers, merchants, and throwsters or weavers of silk thread, who are recorded as being the who practised that art in this country.|
In , a census being taken, those established in le-Grand appear to have been as follow:
The limits of the sanctuary of , as set forth in the court of chancery, by William Boston, abbot of , is printed in the Historical Notices before quoted also in Maitland's History of London.
The following is an account of the Spiritualities and Temporalities of this Church in .
The of this church were per pale and a cross moline counter-changed, in the dexter chief quarter a martlet
The situation of the post-office, in , having been found inconvenient from want of sufficient space, for the business of that important branch of the public service, the precinct of St.
Martin's-le-Grand was selected, as well calculated for the erection of a new post office on an enlarged plan. of parliament was passed in , making all necessary provisions for clearing the area, formerly occupied by the church and sanctuary of St. Martin.
In making the necessary excavations, in the summer of , the workmen laid open ranges of vaults, which had served as cellars to the houses above. The westernmost consisted of a building of a very solid description; its form and extent, from the nature of the excavation, could not be precisely defined; but it had the appearance of a square vaulted chamber.
The piers were at least feet square, and the masonry peculiarly strong. A correct view of this vault is given in the annexed plate.
In this vault was found a coin of Constantine, and a stone coffin (fif. .) in which was a skeleton. Whether the vestiges described were those of a structure erected by the Romanized Britons, or by their successors the Anglo-Saxons, it is difficult to determine. Mr. Kempe is inclined to consider them as contemporaneous with the dominations of the Roman people in England. Adjoining the last was the Gothic crypt represented in the annexed plate. Some fragments of ornaments, ancient vessels, tokens, &c. were discovered. of the vessels, represented in the annexed plate (fig. .) is of an elegant form and workmanship, and may be considered as an old English drinking jug of the century. Another (fig. .) has a curious inscription in a mixed Roman and black letter character-
 Tanner's Not. Monast.
 Kempe's St. Martin's, p. 10.
 Implying an amercement for murder committed on their lands.
 Printed in Kempe's History of St. Martin's, p. 54.
 De Mandeville soon after received a mortal sound in the head from a dart, as he was besieging the castle of Burwell, in Cambridgeshire.
 Printed at length in Kempe's St Martin's-le-Grand, p. 65.
 Idem, p. 71.
 Kempe's St. Martin's-le-Grand, p. 113.
 Vol. i. p. 156.
 Kempe's St. Martin's, p. 137.
 Kempe's St. Martin's, p. 146.
 Maitland, ii p. 771.
 Rymer, vol. xiii.
 Engraved in Kempe's Historical Notices of St. Martin's le-Grand, from the original, in the possession of J. Caley, Esq. F.RS. and S.A.
 Stat. 22 Henry viii.
 Ib. 21 Jac. i. c. 12.
 Bib. Lansd. No. 74, Brit. Mus.
 Vol. i, p. 772
 Kempe's St. Martin's-le-Grand, p. 212.