Survey of London: Bishopsgate Ward

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THe next is Bishopsgate Warde, whereof a part is without the gate, and of the suburbes from the barres, by S. Mary Spittle, to Bishopsgate, and a part of Hounds ditch, almost halfe thereof, also without the wall is of the same Warde. Then within the gate is Bishopsgate stréete, so

called of the gate, to a Pumpe where sometime was a fayre well with two buckets by the East end of the parish church of Saint Martine Otoswich, and then winding by the West cor1ner of Leaden Hall, downe Grasse streete to the corner ouer against Grasse Church, and this is the boundes of that ward.
Monumentes there most to bee noted, are these: the parish Church of S. Buttolph without Bishopsgate in a faire Church
yarde, adioyning to the Towne ditch vpon the very banke there
of, but of old time inclosed with a comely wall of bricke, lately re
payred by Sir William Allen Mayor, in the yeare 1571. be
cause he was borne in that parish, where also he was buried.
Now without this Churchyard wall is a causeway leading to a quadrant, called Petie Fraunce,
Petie France neere to the towne ditch.
of Frenchmen dwelling there, and to other dwelling houses, lately builded on the banke of the saide ditch by some citizens of London, that more regarded their owne priuate gaine, then the common good of the Citie: for by meanes of this causeway raised on the banke, and soylage of houses, with other filthines cast into the ditch, the same is nowe forced to a narrow channell, and almost filled vp with vnsauorie things, to the daunger of impoysoning the whole citie.
Next vnto the parish church of S. Buttolph, is a fayre Inne for receipt of trauellers: then an Hospitall of S. Mary of Beche
, founded by Simon Fitz Mary one of the Sheriffes of Lon
, in the yeare 1246. he founded it to haue beene a Priorse of Cannons with brethren and sisters, and king Edward the thirde granted a protection, which I haue seene for the brethren, Miliciæ beatæ Mariæ de Bethlem, within the citie of London, the 14. yeare of his raigne. It was an Hospitall for distracted people: the Mayor and communaltie purchased the patronage thereof with al the lands and tenements thereuuto belonging, in the yeare 1546 the same yeare King Henry the eight gaue the Hospitall thereof vnto the citie: the Church and chappell whereof were ta
ken downe in the raigne of Quéene Elizabeth, and houses builded there, by the Gouernors of Christes Hospitall in London. In this place people that be distraight in wits, are by the suite of their friendes receyued and kept as afore it was vsed, but not without charges to their bringers in. In the yere 1569. Sir Thomas Roe

Merchant Taylor Mayor, caused to bee inclosed with a wall of bricke, about one acre of ground, being part of the said Hospitall of Bethelem, to wit, on the west, on the bancke of déepe ditch, so called, parting the said hospitall of Bethlem from the More field: this be did for burial,
Buriall for the dead prepared Deepe ditch by Bethelem.
in ease of such parishes in London as wan
ted ground, conuenient within their parishes. The Ladie his wife was there buried (by whose persuasion he inclosed it) but himselfe borne in London was buried in the parish church of Hackney.
From this Hospitall Northward vpon the stréetes side many houses haue beene builded with alleyes backeward, of late time too much pestered with people (a great cause of infection) vp to the barres.
The other side of this high street from Bishopsgate, & Hounds ditch: the first building is a large Inne for receipt of trauellers, then a faire house of late builded by the Lord Iohn Powlet. Next to that a farre more large and beautifull house with gardens of pleasure, bowling alleyes, and such like, builded by Iasper Fisher free of the Goldsmithes, late one of the sixe Clearkes of the Chauncery, and a Iustice of peace. It hath since for a time beene the Earle of Oxfords place. The Quéenes Maiestie Elizabeth hath lodged there. It now belongeth to M. Cornewallos. This house being so largely and sumptuously builded by a man of no greater calling or possessions, was mockingly called Fishers Fol
, and a Rithme was made of it, and other the like in this man
ner; Kirkebies Castle, and Fishers Folly, Spinilas Pleasure, and Megses glorie, and so of other such like buildinges about the Citie. From Fishers Folly vp to the West end of Hogge Lane, which commeth from the barres without Aldegate, as is afore shewed, is a continuall building of tenements, with alleyes of cot
tages, pestered, &c. Then is there a large close, called Tasell close, sometime for that there were Tassels planted for the vse of Cloth
workers: since letten to the Crossebow makers, wherein they vsed to shoote for games at the Popingey: now the same being in
closed with a bricke wall, serueth to be an Artillerie yarde, where
vnto the Gunners of the Tower doe weekely repaire, namely e
uery thurseday, and there leuelling certaine Brasse peeces of great Artillerie against a butte of earth, made for that purpose, they dis

them for their exercise.
Then haue ye the late dissolued Priorie and hospital of our bles
sed Ladie commonly called S. Mary Spittle, founded for Canons regular, by a citizen of London named VValter Brune, & Rosya his wife, in the yere 1235. This Hospital was at the suppression valued so dispend 478. pound, &c. Where besides the ornamentes of the Church, and goods pertayning to the Hospitall, there was found standing one hundreth and fourescore beddes, well furnished for receipt of the poore of charitie: for it was an Hospitall of greate reliefe. There lycth buried Sir Henry Plesington Knight, 1452.
In place of this Hospital, and neere adioyning, are now many faire houses builded, for receipt and lodging of worshipfull and honorable persons. Apart of the large churchyard pertaining to this Hospitall, and seuered from the rest with a bricke wall, yet remayneth, (as of old time) with a pulpet crosse therein, some
what like to that in Paules churchyard: and against the said pulpit on the south side, before the chernell and chappell of S. Edmonde the Bishop: and Mary Magdalen remaineth also one fayre buil
ded house of two stories in height for the Mayor and other hono
rable persons, with the Aldermen and Sheriffes to sit in, there to heare the Sermons preached vpon Easter holy dayes. In the loft ouer them, the Ladies and Aldermens wiues doe stand at a fayre window or sit at their pleasure. And here it is to be noted, that time out of minde, it hath bin a laudable custome that on good fri
day in the after noone some especial learned man by appoyntmēt of ye prelats doth preach a sermon at Paules crosse, treating of Christs passion. And vpon the three next Easter holidayes, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the like learned men by the like ap
pointment doe vse to preach on the fore noon at the said Spittle, to perswad the articles of Christs resurrection, and then on low Sō
day before noon one other learned man at Paules crosse is to make rehersall of those fowre former sermons, either commen
ding or reprouing them, as to him by iudgment of the lerned di
uines is thought conuenient: And that done he is to make a ser
mon of himselfe, which in all were fiue Sermons in one. At these Sermons so seuerally preached, the Maior with his Brethren, the

Aldermen are accustomed to be present in their Uiolets at Paules, on Good Friday, and in their Scarlets, both they and their wiues, at the Spittle in the Holy daies (except Wednesday in Uiolet) and the Maior with his Brethren, on Low Sunday in Scarlet, at Paules Crosse. Touching the antiquitie of this custome, I finde none other, then that in the yeare, 1398. the 22. of Richard the second: that the king hauing procured from Rome, confirma
tion of such statutes, and ordinances, as were made in the Parli
ament, (begunne at Westminster, and ended at Shreusbery, he caused the same confirmation to be read and pronounced at Pauls Crosse, and at S. Marie Spittle in the Sermons before all the people: Philip Malpas one of the Sheriffes in the yere 1439. the 18. of Henry the sixt, gaue twentie shillinges by yeare to the three Preachers at the Spittle. Stephen Fors2ar Maior, in the yeare 1454. gaue fortie pound to the Preachers at Paules Crosse and Spittle.
House in S. Marie Spittle churchyarde builded for the Maior and Aldermen. Pulpit Crosse in Spittle church yarde new builded. A house in Spittle church yarde builded for the gouer
ners and chil
dren of christs Hospital. Lolesworth fielde3. Buriall of the Romaines in Spittle fielde. Olde monu
mentes of the Romaines found,
I finde also that the aforesaide house, wherein the Maior and Aldermen do sit at the Spittle, was builded for that purpose, of the goodes, and by the Executors of Richard Rawson Alderman and Isabell his wife, in the yere 1488. In the yere 1594. this Pulpit being old, was taken downe, and a new set vp: and the Preachers face turned towardes the south, which was before towardes the west, also a large house on the east side of the saide Pulpit, was then builded for the gouernors and chil
dren of Christes Hospitall to sit in: and this was done of the goodes of William Elkens Alderman, late deceased, but within the first yere, the same house decaying, and like to haue fallen, was againe with great cost repayred at the Cities charge. On the east side of this Churchyarde lieth a large fielde of old time called Lolesworth, now Spittle fielde: which aboute the yeare 1576. was broken vp for clay to make bricke, in the digging whereof many earthen pottes called Vrnæ, were found full of ashes, and of brent bones of men, to wit of the Romaines that inhabited here: for it was the custome of the Romaines to bren their dead, to put their ashes in an vrna, and then to bury the same, with certaine ceremonies in some field appointed for that purpose, neare vnto their Citie: euery of these pots had in them with the ashes of the dead, one peece of Copper money, with the inscription of the Em

then raigning: some of them were of Claudius, some of Vespasian, some of Nero, of Anthonius Pius, of Troianus: and others besides those vrnas, many other pots were there founde, made of a white earth with long nockes, and handles, like to our stone Iugges: these were emptie, but seemed to bee buried full of some liquid matter long since consumed and soaked through: for there were found diuers vials and other fashioned glasses, some most cunningly wrought, such as I haue not seene the like, and some of Christall, all which had water in them, nothing differing in clearenes, tast, or sauour from common spring water: some of these glasses had oyle in them very thicke, and earthie in sauour, some were supposed to haue balm in them, but had lost the vertue: many of those pots and glasses were broken in cutting of the clay: so that few were taken vp whole: there were also found diuers di
shes and cups of a fine red colored earth, which shewed outwardly such a shining smothnesse, as if they had beene of curral, those had in the bottomes Romaine letters printed, there were also lampes of white earth artificially wrought with diuers antiques aboute them, some three or foure Images, made of white earth, aboute a span long, each of them: one I remember was of Pallas, the rest I haue forgotten, I my selfe haue reserued amongst diuers of those antiquities there found, one pot of white earth very small, not ex
ceeding the quantitie of a quarter of a wine pint, made in shape of a Hare, squatted vpon her legs, and betweene her eares is the mouth of the pot: there hath also beene found in the same fielde
Troughes of stone found in the Spittle fielde.
diuers coffins of stone, contayning the bones of men: these I sup
pose to be the burials of some especiall persons, in time of the Bri
, or Saxons, after that the Romaines had left to gouern here: moreouer there were also found the sculs and bones of men with
out coffins, or rather whose coffines (being of great timber) were consumed: diuers great nailes of iron were there found, such as are vsed in the wheeles of shod cartes, being each of them as bigge as a mans finger, and a quarter of a yeard long, the heades two inches ouer, those nayles
Great nailes of iron found in the field & fond opinions of men.
were more wondred at then the rest of thinges there found, and many opinions of men were vtte
red of them, namely that the men there buried were murdered by driuing those nayles into their heads, a thing vnlikelie, for a smaler

naile would more aptly serue to so bad a purpose, and a more se
crete place would lightly be imployed for their buriall. But to set downe what I haue obserued, concerning this matter, I there be
helde the bones of a man lying as I noted, the heade North, the feete South, and round about him, as thwart his head along both his sides, & thwart his feete, such nayles were found, wherefore I coniectured them to bee the nayles of his Coffin, which had béene a trough cut out of some great tree, and the same couered with a planke, of a greate thicknesse, fastened with such nayles: and therefore I caused some of the nayles to be reached vp to me, and found vnder the broade heads of them, the old wood, skant turned into dust or earth, but still retayning both the grane, and the pro
per colour, of these nayles with the wood vnder the head thereof, I reserued one as also the nether iaw bone of the man, the teeth being very greate, sound and fast fixed, which (amongst other ma
ny monumentes there found) I haue yet to shew: but the nayle ly
ing drie is now by skaling greatly wasted. And thus much for this part of Bishopsgate warde without the gate: for I haue in another place spoken of the gate, & therefore I am now to speake of that other part of this warde, which lyeth within the gate.
And first to begin on the left hand of Bishopsgate streete, from the gate yee haue certaine Tenementes of olde time pertayning to a Brotherhood of S. Nicholas, granted to the parish Clarkes of London, for two Chaplens to be kept in the Chapple of S. Ma
ry Magdalen
neare vnto the Guilde hall of London, in the 27. of Henry the sixt, the first of these houses towardes the North & against the wall of the Citie, was sometime a large Inne or court called the Wrastlers (of such a signe) and the last in the high stréet towardes the South, was sometime also a fayre Inne called the Angell of such a signe: amongst these saide Tenementes was on the same streete side a fayre Entry or Court to the common hall of the saide parish Clarkes,
Clarkes hall and their Almes houses in, Bishopsgate streete.
with proper Almeshouses seauen in number, adioyning for poore parish Clarkes, and their wiues, their widdowes, such as were in greate yeares not able to labour. One of these by the saide Brotherhoode of parish Clarkes was al
lowed sixeteene pence the weeke, the other six had each of them nine pence the weeke, according to the pattent thereof graunted.

This Brotherhoode amongst other being suppressed. In the raigne of Edward the sixt, the saide Hall with the other buildinges there, was giuen to Sir Robert Chester a knight of Cambridge shier, against whome the parish Clarkes commencing suite, in the raigne of Queene Marie, and being like to haue preuailed, the saide Sir Robert Chester pulled downe the hall, sold the Timber, stone, and lead, and thereupon the suite was ended. The Almes
houses remaine in the Queenes handes, and people are there pla
ced, such as can make best frendes: some of them taking the pen
sion appointed, haue let foorth their houses for great rent, giuing occasion to the Parson of the parish to challenge tithes of the poore, &c. Next vnto this is the small parish church of S. Ethol
burge virgin
, and from thence some small distance is a large court called litle S. Hellens: because it pertayned to the Nuns, of S. Hellens,
priory of S. Hellens, and AlmesehousesMoEML is still seeking information regarding this entry. If you have information to contribute, please email the MoEML team.

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and was their house, there are seauen Almes roomes or houses for the poore, belonging to the company of Lethersellers. Then somewhat more West is an other Court with a winding lane, through which men come out against the west ende of S. Andrewes vndershaft Church. In this court standeth the church of S. Hellens, sometime a Priorie of blacke Nuns and in the same a parish church of S. Hellen, this Priorie long since was founded, before the raigne of Henry the thirde, as I haue found in Recordes. William Basing Deane of Paules, was the first founder, and was there buried, and William Basing one of the Sheriffes of London, in the second yere of Edward the se
was holden also to be a founder, or rather an helper there: this priorie being valued at 314. pound two shillinges six pence was surrendred the 25. of Nouember, the thirtie of Henry the eight, the whole church (the partition betwixt the Nuns church, and pa
rish church being taken downe) remaineth now to the parish: and is a fayre parish church, but wanteth such a steeple as Sir Tho
mas Gresham
promised to haue builded, in recompence of ground in their church filled vp, with his monument. The Nuns hall & other howsing thereunto appertayning, was since purchased by the Company of the Lethersellers, and is their common Hall: which Company was incorporate in the 21. yeare of Richarde the second.

In the Church of S. Hellen, haue yee these monumentes of the dead: Thomas Langton Chaplen buried in the Quire, 1350. Nicholas Marshall, Ironmonger Alderman, 1474. Sir Wil
liam Sanctlo
, and Sir William Sanctlo father and sonne, Sir William Pickering, and Sir VVilliam Pickering father and sonne, Thomas VVilliams Gentleman, 1495. Iohn Lang
Esquier, 1510. Ioan Coken wise to Iohn Coken Es
quier, 1509. Mary Orrell wife to Sir Lewys Orrell Knight. Henry Somer, Katheren his wife, Ioan daughter to Henry Somer, wife to Richarde, sonne and heire to Robert Lord Poy
, died a virgin 1420. VValter Huntington, Esquier, Eli
zabeth Venner
wife to William Venner Grocer, Alderman, one of the Sheriffes, 1401. Robert Rochester Esquier Sargeant of the Pantrie, to Henry the eight. Iohn Swinflet, 1420. Iohn Gower Steward of S. Helens, 1512. Iohn Faukconbridge Esquier, 1545. Hacket Gentleman of the kinges Chappell, Eli
daughter to Sir Thomas Butler, Lord Sudley,5 Iohn Suthworth, Adam Frances Maior Nicholas Harpsfielde, Es
quier, Thomas Saunderforde or Somerforde Alderman, Alexander Cheyney, Sir Iohn Crosbie Alderman, and Anne his wife, George Fastolph, sonne to Hugh Fastolph, Robert Lynd, Sir Andrew Iud Maior, Sir Thomas Gre
Mercer &c.
Then haue yee one greate house called Crosbie place, be
cause the same was builded by Sir Iohn Crosbie Grocer, and Wolman, in place of certaine Tenements, with their appurte
nances letten to him by Alice Ashfed Prioresse of S. Hellens, and the Couent for ninety nine yeares, from the yeare 1466. vn
to the yere 1565. for the annuall rent of eleuen pound six shillings eight pence: this house he builded of stone and timber, very large and beutifull, and the highest at that time in London: he was one of the Sheriffes, and an Alderman in the yeare 1470. knighted by Edwarde the fourth, in the yeare 1471. and deceased in the yeare 1475. so short a time enioyed hee that his large and sumptuous building, hee was buried in S. Hellens, the parish church, a fayre monument of him and his Lady, is raysed there: hee gaue towardes the reforming of that church fiue hundred

markes, which was bestowed with the better, as appeareth by his Armes, both in the stone worke, roose of Timber, and glasing. I holde it a fable saide of him, to be named Crosby, of being found by a crosse, for I haue read of other to haue that name of Crosby, before him, namely in the yeare 1406. the seuenth of Henry the fourth, the saide king gaue to his seruant Iohn Crosby the wardship of Ioan daughter, and sole heire to Iohn Iordaine Fishmonger, &c. This Crosbie might be the Father or Grand
father to Sir Iohn Crosbie.
Richarde Duke of Glocester, and Lorde Protector, after
warde king by the name of Richarde the thirde, was lodged in this house: since the which time among other, Anthonie Bonuice a rich marchant of Italy, dwelled there, after him Ierome Se
, then William Bond Alderman, increased this house with building of a Turret on the top thereof: he deceased in the yeare, 1567. and was buried in S. Helens church: diuers Ambassa
dors haue beene lodged there: namely in the yeare 1586. Henry Ramelius Chancelor of Germany, Ambassador vnto the Queens Maiestie of Englande from Fredericke the second of Denmark: an Ambassador of France, &c. Sir Iohn Spencer Alderman lately purchased this house, made great reparations, kept his Maioralty there, and since builded a most large ware-house neare thereunto.
From this Crosbie place vp to Leaden hall corner, and so downe Grassestreete, amongst other Tenementes, are diuers fayre and large builded houses for Marchantes and such like. Now for the other side of this warde, namely the right hand, hard by within the gate is onefayre water Conduite, which Thomas Knesworth Maior, in the yeare 1505. founded, hee gaue 60.l. the rest was furnished at the common charges of the citie: this conduite hath since beene taken downe, and new builded. Da
uid Wodrooffe
Alderman gaue twenty poundes towardes the conuayance of more water thereunto. From this conduite haue ye amongst many fayre Tenementes, diuers fayre Innes, large for receipt of trauellers and some houses for men of worship, namely one most spatious of all other there aboute, builded of bricke and timber, by Sir Thomas Gresham, knight, who deceased in the yeare 1579. and was buried in S. Hellens church, vnder a fayre

monument, by him, prepared in his life hée appointed by his Te
stament, this house to be made a Colledge, as before is saide of Readers.
Somewhat west from this house is one other very fayre house, wherein Sir William Hollies, kept his Maioralty, and was bu
ried in the parish church of S. Helen: Sir Andrew Iud,
S. Andrew Iud his almes
also kept his Maioralty there, and was buried at S. Hellens: hee buil
ded Almsehouses for six poore Almespeople neare to the saide par
rish church, and gaue lands to the Skinners, out of the which they are to giue 4. shillinges euery weeke to the six poore Almespeople eight pence the peece, and fiue and twentie shillinges foure pence, the yeare in coales amongst them for euer.
Then in the very west corner ouer against the East end of S. Martins Otswitch, church (from whence the streete windeth to
wardes the South) you had of olde time a fayre well with two buckets so fastened, that the drawing vp of the one, let downe the other, but now of late that weil is turned into a Pumpe.
From this to the corner ouer against the Leaden hall, and so downe Grasse streete, are many fayre houses for marchantes, and artificers, and many fayre Innes for Trauellers euen to the corner where that ward endeth, ouer against Grasse church: and thus much for this Bishopsgate warde shall suffice, which hath an Alderman, two Deputies, one without the gate another within, common Counsellors six, Constables seauen, Scauengers sea
uen, for Wardmote inquest thirteene, and a Beadle: it is tax
ed to the fifeteene at xxij.£.in London, and in the Exchequer xxi.£.x..


  1. Underinking; context obvious. (SM)
  2. Unclear. (SM)
  3. Lolesworth now called Spitalfield (NAP)
  4. Underinking. (SM)
  5. Sir Thomas Butler had no known children (Ashdown-Hill 65). The Elienor to which Stow refers here is likely Butler’s wife, Eleanor Butler (née Talbot). (TLG)


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MLA citation

Stow, John, and William fitz Stephen. Survey of London: Bishopsgate 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: Bishopsgate 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: Bishopsgate Ward. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

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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: Bishopsgate 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: Bishopsgate 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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