Survey of London: Billingsgate Ward

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Billinsgate warde, beginneth at the west ende of Towerstreete warde, in Thames streete, about Smartes Key, and runneth downe along that streete on the south side, to S. Magnus church at the Bridge foote, and on the north side of the same Thames steeete, from ouer against Smarts Key till ouer against the North west Corner of S. Magnus Church aforesaide: on this North side of Thames streete, is S. Marie hill lane, vp to S. Margarets Church, and then parte of S. Margarets Pattens streete, at the end of S. Mary hil lane: Next out of Thames streete is Lucas lane, and then Buttolph lane, and at the northend thereof Philpot lane, then is Rothar lane, of olde time so called, and thwart the same lane is little East
, and these be the bounds of this Billinsgate warde. Touch
ing the principall ornamentes within this warde. On the south
side of Thames streete, beginning at the East end thereof, there is first the saide Smartes key, so called of one Smart sometime owner thereof, the next is Billinsgate, whereof the whole ward taketh name, the which (leauing out the fable, thereof faigning it to be builded by king Beline a Briton, long before the incarna
tion of Christ) is at this present a large Water gate, Porte or Harbrough for ships and Boates, commonly ariuing there with fish both fresh and salt, shell fishes, salt, Orenges, Onions, and o
ther Fruits and Rootes, Wheat, Rie, and Graine of diuers sorts, for seruice of the Citie, and the partes of this Realme adioyning. This Gate is now more frequented then of olde time, when the Queenes Hith was more vsed as being appointed by the kinges of this Realm, to be the special or onely porte for taking vp of al such kinde of marchandizes brought to this citie by strangers & For
renners, and the draw bridge of Timber at London bridge was then to bée raised or drawne vp for passage of shippes with toppes thether. Touching the auncient customes of this Bi1llinsgate,
Customes of Billinsgate.
I haue not read in anyrecorde, more then that in the raigne of Ed
the thirde
, euery great ship landing there, paide for stran

two pence, euery little ship, with Orelockes a penny, the lesser boate called a Battle, a halfepenny: of two quarters of corn measured the king was to haue one Farthing of a Combe, of Corne a pennie, of euerie weight going out of the City a halfepenny, of two quarters of sea coale measured a farthing, and of euery Tunne of Ale going out of England beyond the seas, by Marchant strangers foure pence, of euery thousand Herring, a farthing, except the Franchises &c.
The next to this is Somars key, which likewise tooke that name of one Somar dwelling there, as did Lion key of one Lyon owner thereof, and since of the signe of a Lyon.
Then is there a fayre Wharfe or Key, called Buttolphes gate by that name so called in the times of VVilliam the Conqueror, and of Edwarde the Confessor, as I haue shewed alreadie in the description of the Gates.
Next is the parish church of S. Buttolph, a proper Church, & hath had many fayre monumentes therein, now defaced and cleane gone: notwithstanding I find by Testimonies abroad, that these which follow were buried there, to wit, Roger Coggar, 1384. Andrew Pikeman, and Ioan his wife, 1391. Nicholas Iames Ironmonger one of the Sheriffes, 1423. Iohn Raynewel Fish
monger, and VVilliam his Father, the saide Iohn Rainwel was Maior 1426. and deceasing 1445. was buried there with this Epitaphe.
Citizens of London, call to your remembrance,
The famous Iohn Rainewel, sometime your Maior,
Of the Staple of Callis, so was his chance.
Here lieth now his Corps, his soule bright and fayre,
Is taken to heauens blisse, thereof is no dispaire.
His actes beare witnes, by matters of recorde,
How charitable he was, and of what accorde,
No man hath beene so beneficial as hee,
Vnto the Citie, in giuing liberalitie,&c.
Hee gaue a stone house, to bee a Reuestrie to that Church for euer: more, hee gaue landes, and Tenementes to the vse of the

Comminaltie, that the Maior and Chamberlaine should satisfie vnto the discharge of all persons, inhabiting the wardes of Belins
, Downegate, and Aldegate,
Billinsgate warde, Down gate warde, and Aldgate warde dischar
ged of all fifteenes.
as often as it shall happen any fifeteene, by Parliament of the king to bee granted, also to the Exchequer in discharge of the Sheriffes tenne pounde yearely, which the Sheriffes vsed to pay for the Fearme of Southwarke, so that all men of the Realme, comming or passing with carriage should be free quitted and discharged of all Tole and other pay
mentes, afore time clamed by the Sheriffes: Further that the Maior and Chamberlaine, shall pay yearely to the Sheriffes, eight pound, so that the saide Sheriffes take no manner Tole or money, of any person of this Realme, for their goods, Marchandi
zes, victuailes, and carriages, for their passages at the great gate of the bridge of the citie, nor at the gate called the draw bridge &c. The ouerplus of money comming of the saide Landes and Tene
mentes, deuided into euen portions, the one parte to bee imploy
led to instore the Grayners of the Cittie, with wheate for the re
leefe of the poore Comminaltie, and the other Moity to cleare and clense the shelues, and other stoppages of the riuer of Thames &c.
Stephen Forstar Fishmonger, Maior in the yeare, 1454. and Dame Agnes his wife, lie buried there: VVilliam Bacon Ha
berdasher, one of the Sheriffes 1480. was there buried, besides many other persons of good worship, whose monumentes are all destroyed by greedy men of spoile.
This parish of S. Buttolph is no great thing, notwithstan
ding diuers strangers are there harbored as may appeare by a presentment, not many yeres since made of strangers
The number of strangers.
inhabitants in the warde of Billinsgate in these wordes. In Billinsgate ward were one and fifty householdes of strangers, whereof thirty of these househouldes inhabited in the parrish of S. Buttolph in the chiefe and principall houses where they giue twenty pound the yeare for a house lately letten, for foure marks, the nearer they dwell to the waterside, the more they giue for houses, and within thirty yeares before there was not in the whole warde aboue thrée Netherlanders, at which time there was within the saide parish leauied for the helpe of the poore, seauen and twentie pounde, by the yeare, but since they came so plentifully thether, there cannot

be gathered aboue eleuen pound, for they will not contribute to such charges as other Citizens doe. Thus much for that south side of this warde.
On the north side is Bosse Alley, so called of a Bosse of spring water continually running, which standeth by Billinsgate, against this Alley, and was sometimes made by the Executors of Rich
ard VVhitington
Then is S. Mary hill lane, which runneth vp North from Billinsgate, to the end of S. Margaret Pattens, commonly cal
led Roode lane, and the greatest halfe of that lane is also of Billins
gate warde
. In this S. Marie hil lane is the fayre parish church of S. Marie called on the hill, bycause of the ascent from Billins
This church hath been lately builded, as may appeare by this that followeth. Richarde Hackney one of the Sheriffes in the yeare 1322. and Alice his wife were there buried, as Robert Fabian writeth, saying thus. In the yeare 1497. in the moneth of Aprill, as laborers digged for the foundation of a walle, with
in the Church of S. Marie hil neare vnto Billinsgate, they found a Coffin of rotten Timber, and therein the Corps of a woman, whole ofskin, and of bones vndeseuered, and the iointes of her armes pliable, without breaking of the skinne, vpon whose sepul
chre this was engrauen. Here lyen the bodies of Richarde Hackney and Allice
Alice Hackney found vncor
rupted more then 170. yeres after shee was buried.
his wife, the which Richard was Sheriffe in the fifteenth of Edwarde the second, her bodie was kept aboue ground, three or foure dayes without noysance, but then it waxed vnsauorie: and so was again buried. Iohn Mordan stocke-Fish
monger was buried there, 1387. Nicholas Exton Fishmonger Maior, 1387. VVilliam Cambridge Maior, 1420 William Phillip Sergeant at Armes, 1473. Robert Reuell one of the Sheriffes 1490. gaue liberally towarde the new building of this Church, and steeple, and was there buried, William Remington Maior, 1500. Sir Thomas Blanke Maior, 1582. VVilliam Holstocke Esquier, Controller of the kinges ships. Sir Cut
berte Buckle
Maior, 1594.
This lane on both sides is furnished with many fayre houses for Marchantes and hath at the North end thereof, one other

lane called S. Margaret Pattens, because of olde time Pattens were there vsually made and solde: but of later time, this is called Roode lane, of a Roode there placed, in the Church yarde of Saint Margaret, whilest the olde Church was taken downe, and a
gaine newly builded, during which time the oblations made to this Roode, were imployed towardes building of the church: but in the yere 1538. about the 23. of May in the morning, the saide Roode was found to haue been in the night proceeding (by people vnknown), broken all to péeces, together with the Tabernacle, wherein it had béene placed. Also on the 27, of the same moneth, in same parrish amongst the Basketmakers, a great and sudden fire happened in the night season, which within the space of thrée howers consumed more then a dozen houses, & nine persons were brent to death there, and thus ceased that worke of this Church, being at that time nigh finished to the steeple.
The lane on both sides beyond the same church to the mid
way towardes Fenchurch streete is of Billinsga te warde.
Then againe out of Thames streete, by the west ende of S. Mary hill Church, runneth vp one other lane of olde time called Roape lane, since called Lucas Lane, of one Lucas owner of some part thereof, and now corruptly called Loue lane, it runneth vp by the East end of a parish Church of Saint Andrew Hubbert, or Saint Andrew in East Cheape: This Church and all the whole Lane called Lucas Lane is of this Billinsegate warde.
Then haue yee one other lane out of Thames streete, cal
led Buttolph lane, because it riseth ouer against the Parrish Church of S. Buttolph, and runneth vp North by the East end of S. Georges Church, to the West ende of S. Androwes Church and to the south ende of Philpot lane.
This Parrish Church of Saint George in Buttolph lane, is smal, but the Monumentes for two hundred yeares past are well preserued, from spoile whereof, one is of Adam Bamme Maior, one thousand three hundred ninetie seauen, Richarde Bamme Esquier, his sonne of Gillingham in Kent, 1452. Iohn VValton Gentleman, 1401.Parish Marpor a Gentleman, 1400. Iohn, Saint Iohn Marchant of Leauaunt, and Agnes his wife, 1400. VVilliam Combes Stocke Fishmonger, one of

the Sheriffes, 1452. who gaue forty pound, towardes the workes of that Church. Iohn Stokar Draper one of the Sheriffes, 1477. Richarde Drylande Esquier, and Ka
his wife, Daughter to Morrice Brune Knight, Lorde of Southuckenton in Essex, Stewarde o the Housholde to Humphrey Duke of Glocester, 1487. Nicholas Partrich one of the Sheriffes, 1519. William Forman Maior, 1538. Iames Mounforde Esquier. Surgeon to king Henry the eight, buried. 1544. Thomas Gayle Haberdashar. 1540. Ni
cholas Wilforde
Marchant Taylor and Elizabeth his wife, a
bout the yeare. 1551
. Hugh Spencer Esquier, 1424. Edward Heywarde 1573. &c.
Then haue yee one other lane called Rother Lane or Red Rose Lane, of such a signe there, now commonly called Pudding Lane, because the Butchers of Eastcheape, haue their skalding house for Hogges there, and their Puddinges with other filth of Beastes, are voided downe that way to their dung boates on the Thames.
This Lane stretcheth from Thames streete to little East-
chiefely inhabited, by Basketmakers, Turners, and Butchers: and is all of Billins gate warde. The Garland in little East Cheape, sometime a Brewhouse, with a Garden on the backeside adioyning to the Garden of Sir Iohn Philpot, was the chiefe house in this East Cheape, it is now deuided into sundry small Tenementes, &c.
This Warde hath one Alderman, and his Deputie, common Counsellors Constables eleuen, Scauengers sixe, for the Wardmote inquest foureteene and a Beadle, it is taxed to the fifteene in London, at two and thirty pound, and in the Exche
quer at one and thirty pound ten shillinges.


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Cite this page

MLA citation

Stow, John, and William fitz Stephen. Survey of London: Billingsgate Ward. The Map of Early Modern London, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 20 Jun. 2018,

Chicago citation

Stow, John, and William fitz Stephen. Survey of London: Billingsgate Ward. The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 20, 2018.

APA citation

Stow, J., & fitz Stephen, W. 2018. Survey of London: Billingsgate Ward. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

RIS file (for RefMan, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Stow, John
A1  - fitz Stephen, William
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Survey of London: Billingsgate Ward
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
PY  - 2018
DA  - 2018/06/20
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 


RT Web Page
SR Electronic(1)
A1 Stow, John
A1 fitz Stephen, William
A6 Jenstad, Janelle
T1 Survey of London: Billingsgate Ward
T2 The Map of Early Modern London
WP 2018
FD 2018/06/20
RD 2018/06/20
PP Victoria
PB University of Victoria
LA English
OL English

TEI citation

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