The City of London

  London's Corporate Seal

The City of London is a city and county within the larger metropolis of London, visibly marked through the eighteenth century as the area within the London Wall and bars, and with a jurisdiction independent of the rest of the city and of Middlesex. Originally contained entirely within the wall, the City had expanded beyond, with sections of the wards designated within or without the wall. The City was divided into 26 wards:

  1. Aldersgate Ward
  2. Aldgate Ward
  3. Bassishaw Ward
  4. Billingsgate Ward
  5. Bishopsgate Ward
  6. Bread Street Ward
  7. Bridge Ward Within
  8. Bridge Ward Without
  9. Broad Street Ward
  1. Candlewick Ward
  2. Castle Baynard Ward
  3. Cheap Ward
  4. Coleman Street Ward
  5. Cordwainer Ward
  6. Cornhill Ward
  7. Cripplegate Ward
  8. Dowgate Ward
  9. Faringdon Ward Within
  1. Faringdon Ward Without
  2. Langbourn Ward
  3. Lime Street Ward
  4. Portsoken Ward
  5. Queen Hithe Ward
  6. Tower Ward
  7. Vintry Ward
  8. Walbrook Ward

About the City of London

from A Dictionary of London, by Henry Harben (1918)

General History of the City

Arms of the City

Argent, plain cross gules, in the dexter chief canton a sword erect in pale of the second.

Crest: A dragon's wing argent charged with a cross gules.

The arms incorporate the cross of St. George with the sword of St. Paul, the patron saint of the City. 

Fire of London

In 1666, from September 2nd to 6th.

Commenced at the house of a baker in Pudding Lane, near London Bridge, and spread through the narrow streets and lanes of the City with extraordinary rapidity. Its progress west was only stopped within the Temple precincts by the blowing up of some of the buildings near the church, the empty space thus provided serving to arrest its further progress.

Northwards it extended to Barber Surgeons' Hall in Monkwell Street (H. MSS. Com. 11th Rep. VII. 85).

It was stopped at the Temple, Fetter Lane, Pye Corner, Cow Lane, Little Britain, Aldersgate, Cripplegate, middle of Coleman Street and Broad Street, Bishopsgate and the middle of Fenchurch Street, 1666 (ib. 12th Rep. 42). After the fire, so complete was the ruin, that the Thames could be seen from Cheapside, 1666 (ib. 12th Rep. VII. 41–42).

The extent of the area destroyed within the City was 373 acres in addition to an extent of nearly 64 acres outside the walls, and 75 acres, 3 roods only remained within the walls. It consumed 89 parish churches, including St. Paul's Cathedral, besides chapels, and 13,200 houses. Eleven parishes only remained standing within the walls. The cause of the outbreak is unknown. It purged the City of the plague, but it destroyed many of its finest buildings, which might otherwise have survived as noble specimens of architectural beauty and as links with the past.

Many plans were projected for the rebuilding of the City, notably those of Sir Christopher Wren and Sir John Evelyn, and though the rebuilding was eventually entrusted in great measure to Sir Christopher Wren, yet he was not permitted to carry out his plans to rebuild the City on the new lines he had laid down, the streets and houses being for the most part reconstructed on their former sites.

The Monument (q.v.) was erected to commemorate the lamentable event. 

London Houses

Roman tiles used in the walls of houses were 17 in. long, 11 in. wide and 1½ in. thick. The draining tiles made to fit into each other were 12 in. to 25 in. long, 4 in. to 8 in. in diameter.

The tiles were stamped with the names of Roman legions and cohorts in particular localities (R. Smith, Illus. of Roman London, pp. 114 and 116).

Houses were distinguished by signs in early times, as shown in views of the City, and the houses began to be numbered only about 1764, New Burlington Street being the first street so distinguished and Lincoln's Inn Fields the second. All the houses in the principal streets in the City were numbered when Horwood's map was published in 1799.

London Privileges

These were granted from time to time by the Royal Charters given to the City and were jealously guarded by the Mayor and Commonalty.

It was decided by Inquisition taken 8 Ed. II. that none of the King's Justices could hold pleas on behalf of the King in the City (Ch. I. p.m. 8 Ed. II. 68).

A hostel for the use of the King's household could not be taken by force in the City, but only by grant of the Mayor and Sheriffs, 19 Ed. II. (Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 206).

London Records

These are perhaps sufficiently indicated in the list of authorities set out at the commencement of this work, but it may not be amiss to deal with them somewhat more in detail.

London is rich in municipal records, and in spite of numerous fires that have devastated the City from time to time, these records have been preserved in wonderful completeness to the present day.

The earliest records relating to the City are to be found in charters, grants, etc., contained in the MSS. in the British Museum, the MSS. of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's in Chartularies and other private collections, and in the Ancient Deeds, etc., in the Record Office. These have been made available in: Kemble, "Codex Diplomaticus, Aevi Saxonici," 6 Vols. Birch, "Cartularium Anglo Saxonicum," 3 Vols. and Index of Names. Thorpe, "Diplomatarium Anglicum Aevi Saxonici." Calendar of Ancient Deeds in the Record Office, 6 Vols., and other publications of the Record Office, viz. the Rolls Series, etc.; Historical Manuscripts Commission, Reports and Appendices in progress. Dugdale's "Monasticon Anglicanum," 8 Vols.

Numerous original charters and grants at present unpublished can be consulted in the Record Office, in the MS. room at the British Museum, in the Guildhall and elsewhere.

The municipal records proper commence with the "Liber de Antiquis Legibus" (pub. Camden Society), containing the Chronicle of the Mayors and Sheriffs, 1188 to 1274, with some records of an earlier date, including extracts from various chronicles of events relating to London, etc.

The admirable series of Letter Books of the Corporation, as they are called, commence with the reign of Edward I., and as a contemporary record of events form an invaluable series illustrating the government of the City, and the social, political and commercial life of the citizens. The MSS. are preserved in the Guildhall, but the contents of the earlier ones have been made available by Dr. R.R. Sharpe in the "Calendars of the Letter-Books of the Corporation of the City of London," 11 Vols., A–L, and by Mr. W.H. Riley in his "Memorials of London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries."

The records of the Court of Hustings are preserved in the Hustings Rolls in the Guildhall, and some of these records have been published in the "Calendar of Wills of the Court of Hustings," 1258–1688, 2 Vols., ed. by Dr. R. R. Sharpe, published by direction of the Corporation of the City of London.

The Corporation have also published "Munimenta Gildhallae," containing the "Liber Albus," and "Liber Custumarum," 4 Vols. of records relating to the trade, commerce and government of the City from the time of Henry III. The Analytical Index to the "Remembrancia," 1579–1664, was published 1878.

Besides these published works there are in the Guildhall other records of the City such as the Repertories and Journals of the Court of Aldermen, etc.

In addition to these admirable municipal records much information with regard to property in London can be derived from the Patent Rolls, Close Rolls, Charter Rolls, Inquisitions post mortem, made available in the invaluable series of Calendars published under the direction of the Master of the Rolls, alluded to above.

Other records of London containing much valuable information have been available in: "The French Chronicle of London," extending from 44 Henry III. to 17 Edward III., published by the Camden Society, from a MS. in the Cottonian Collection. "The Chronicles of London," 1189 to 1483, published 1827. "Annales Londoniensis." "Annales Paulini" (13th and 14th century records) contained in "Chronicles of the reigns of Edward I. and II.," ed. Rolls Series. "Chronicles of London," ed. C. L. Kingsford.

This list does not pretend to be exhaustive, but it will serve to indicate the masses of material that are available to the student and to assist in directing him to the original documents, so invaluable for purposes of historical study and research.

London Streets

The following extract as to the rebuilding of the City after the Fire may be of interest:

To provide for the rebuilding of the streets after the Fire of 1666, an Act was passed in 1667 deciding which should be accounted high and principal streets, which streets or lanes of note, which bye-lanes, six only were accounted high and principal streets, 214 lanes, alleys, etc. (L. and P. Chas. II. 1666–7, p. 577).

Officiality of London

Seal of the Officiality of London, 1281 (Anc. Deeds, A. 6350)

In a deed of about 1230 Master Walter, official of London, is described as the official of the archdeacon of London (ib. A. 1707), and Martin, in the "Record Interpreter," defines the "official" as "one who exercises the jurisdiction of a Bishop or Archdeacon."

Public Libraries

The principal public library within the City area is the Guildhall Library, containing a magnificent collection of books and manuscripts.

There are also good libraries at the Bishopsgate Institute, Bishopsgate, and at the Cripplegate Institute, and at Sion College, Victoria Embankment.

Original documents and records can be consulted at the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane.

Stow, John

The great antiquary and historian of London, born 1525, died 1605, buried in St. Andrew Undershaft.

His Survey of London, first published in 1598, 2nd ed. 1603, has remained the standard work on the subject, and no historian of London can afford to neglect the storehouse of learning accumulated by John Stow to illustrate the history of the Great City, forming an indestructible link in the chain of its past history before it had been devastated by the Great Fire of 1666, which obliterated so many of the old landmarks. Besides the Survey of London, his Annals and Chronicles of England contain much useful and reliable information.

The fruit to himself of his years of patient labour and research was an authority from King James I., who prided himself on his learning and erudition, to beg for his bread in the City!

Stow had to collect all the materials for his survey out of the original manuscripts and records, which he could unearth from various repositories, or which were to be found in private hands, and the difficulties in the way of obtaining and deciphering such documents must have been very great. His was, for the most part, original work, and he had no Calendars of Records at hand to assist him or to lighten his labours.

That he should, in these circumstances, have fallen into serious errors is not a matter for surprise, but it is a matter for regret that his successors, with so many added opportunities for original research, do not emulate his patience and industry, and endeavour to crown his labours by the elucidation of difficulties, which, within the limited span of his life, it was impossible for him to overcome or correct.

His great work has been successively re-edited and enlarged: In 1618, 1633 Strype's editions of the Survey, 1720 and 1755; Thom's edition of Stow, 1875 Morley's edition of Stow; Kingsford's edition, 1908.

Street Improvements

Within the City area considerable improvements have been carried out from time to time and notably within recent years, as for example in the formation of King William Street, Cannon Street, Queen Victoria Street, Byward Street, Monument Street, etc., and the widening of Eastcheap, Gt. Tower Street, etc.

Select Committees appointed 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, 1808–9, 1810, 1817, 1820–1, 1832–51, to consider improvements, but little was effected. No central body existed outside the City area to carry out the work, and there were no funds (except the coal dues) to be applied to such a purpose.

In 1855 the Metropolitan Board of Works was appointed, and since that time, under their auspices and subsequently under those of the London County Council, continuous improvements have been effected without the City area.

Street Signs

This method of indicating houses is one that was adopted by the Romans and has come down to us from them.

For many centuries in London and elsewhere it was the custom for houses of all kinds to be distinguished by signs erected over the door and projecting into the streets, so as to catch the eye of the passer-by. At a time when street names were only partially in use, and when many of the smaller lanes and passages were still unnamed, rendering modern methods of identification impossible, it was necessary that houses should have some distinguishing mark or sign by which they could be identified and which would serve to indicate them to intending visitors or friends. In the earliest grants of property in London the situation of the tenements to be demised or conveyed is indicated with reference to some neighbouring highway or by the names of the owners of adjoining properties, and when much of the land was still unoccupied no other method of identification could well be adopted. But in later times, when the number of buildings had materially increased and the adjoining properties were usually houses, these are generally referred to by the names of the signs attached to them, the name of the occupier being sometimes added as well to assist identification. This being so, the number and variety of the signs employed can excite no surprise, and the closer study given to them only serves to make them of more general interest. They would seem originally to have been adopted by the merchants and traders, at a time when shop fronts were less extensive than they are in the present day, to indicate the nature of the trade carried on, and were probably of the simplest description.

Noblemen, ecclesiastics and others not engaged in trade, would naturally adopt as a sign their own arms or crest or perhaps some badge forming part of the arms.

Thus in course of time the sign displayed might serve to indicate the ownership of property, and some of the houses belonging to the great Livery Companies were frequently distinguished by their respective arms.

As the houses increased, the signs multiplied in number and in elaboration of design, and possibly the later ones would have a less definite origin and meaning than the earlier ones possessed. The method of indicating the signs lent itself to infinite variety of design and execution, but they were for the most part at least in later times painted on boards as at the present day, as shown in early views of London streets, as, for instance, in Cheapside on the occasion of the entrance of Mary of Medici into the City, temp. Chas. I. One favourite method in use was to carve the sign and hang it within a hoop, and this method gave rise to an infinite variety of signs described as "...on the Hoop."

These street signs are responsible for a very large number of the street names of London, and are especially interesting in this connection.

The signs continued in general use until the 18th century, but their increasing number and the practice of making them project further and further over the footway so as to render them the more conspicuous, made them a source of real danger to the pedestrians, in case of their being blown down by the wind or falling down from decay or other cause, and in temp. Chas. II. it was ordained that the signboards should no longer be hung over the streets but should be fixed on to the front of the houses.

After the Great Fire of 1666 many of the signs were carved in stone and let into the houses in place of projecting and swinging signboards.

The use of the street signs was eventually superseded by the adoption of the practice of numbering houses in the 18th century, and the signs are only used now by inn-keepers and for public-houses.


This expression is used instead of "in" in the case of Lothbury, Bucklersbury, Aldermanbury, and Cornhill.

Water Supply of London

Until the 13th century the inhabitants of the City were dependent for their water supply on the natural wells and streams that existed in and about the City.

These wells seem to have been very numerous, at least so far as the northern districts were concerned.

Clerkenwell possessed, besides its own Clerk's well, Skinners-well, Fagswell, Goswell, all mentioned in early records, while Everard's well was in the Cripplegate area, and other wells, such as "Dame Agnes le clair" and "Holywell" were to be found further east.

Besides the wells there were the streams of Holborn, the Fleet, and Walbrook within the City area flowing down to the Thames.

As the City increased in size, however, the tendency was for these streams to become filled up and polluted, so that in course of time it became necessary to seek for other sources of supply. To the north and west of the City other streams were available, and the Tyburn, receiving the waters from the high lands of Hampstead and Highgate, promised a pure and abundant supply.

In 1235 the City acquired land at Tyburn with liberty to make pipes to convey the water from Tyburn to fixed places in the City for the use of the citizens. For this purpose a conduit head or receipt house was erected over, or as near as possible to the natural spring or springs forming the sources of supply, and water was led into it, filling a cistern or tank, and passing on through the pipes to the distributing base one or more miles distant. Numerous conduits (q.v.) were erected in the City to receive the water, which was stored in them and drawn from cocks or taps by the citizens as required.

These conduits continued in use until the 16th century, when a scheme was initiated by Peter Morice, a Dutchman, for bringing water from the Thames into London by means of pumps and forciers. It was for this purpose that the water works at London Bridge were constructed.

In the 17th century a further supply was assured by the formation of the New River Company by Hugh Myddleton to bring water from Hertfordshire and from the Lea into the City.

Governance of the City


The Court of Aldermen of the City of London forms with the Common Council the Corporation or governing body of the City. The Lord Mayor is the senior Alderman. The Court consists of 26 members, representing the various Wards into which the City is divided. The number of Aldermen has varied accordingly from time to time with the number of the Wards, as may be seen from the lists of Aldermen and Wards set out in the Letter Books of the City. The Aldermen in early days, as the name denotes, being derived from the O.E. "aldor" = an "elder, chief, prince," were men of note and high standing throughout the kingdom, equal in dignity and importance to the Senators of ancient Rome. Only men of the highest character and capacity could attain to this rank and the veneration in which the office was held in London in early times is emphasised by the fact that the Wards were known originally by the names of the respective Aldermen who presided over them and not by their present topographical designations. This change in designation which took place about the 13th century is indicative of the change which gradually came about in the nature of the office and in the functions to be discharged by the Aldermen. It is not possible within the limits of this work to deal adequately with this subject, nor to furnish lists of the Aldermen of the City, but much valuable information is contained in the admirable history by Mr. Beavan in 2 volumes, entitled the "Aldermen of London." It is not an uncommon occurrence to find the names of Aldermen commemorated in street names in the City, especially in those of later formation, as Alderman's Walk, Skinner Street, etc.

Common Council

Forms with the Lord Mayor and Aldermen the Corporation or governing body of the City of London.

List of the first Common Council elected in the City is set out in 1347 from L. Bk. F. f. cxxxvj. in Riley's Memorials, liii–lv. The expression "Common Council" does not appear to be used, but it is stated that "the persons under written were chosen in their respective wards to come to the Guildhall of London, when they should be warned thereto to treat of business touching the City."

In 1376 they were elected by the trades and not by the wards (Riley Mem. xlvj.).

Council at London

Held in 833, at which were present the Bishops and "proceribus majoribus" of all England, to take counsel against the Danish Pirates who were constantly attacking the coasts of England (Dugdale, II. p. 109).

Mayors of London

The chief Magistrate of the City and senior Alderman. First appointed 1191. First mentioned in the City Charter, 1202–4, Charter of John. The fifth Charter, 1215, gave the citizens power to elect their own Mayor annually. This privilege was revoked on numerous occasions in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I. when the City was taken into the King's hands and a Custos appointed in the place of the Mayor to punish the City for contumacy.

Lists to be found in the Letter books, Liber Albus and elsewhere (Cal. L. Bk. F. pp. 276–303).

Various privileges conferred on them by Royal Charters.

Elected 28th Oct. (Cal. L. Bk. D. p. 16).

Day of election changed in 1346 to Oct. 13, and to Michaelmas Day in 1546 by Act of Common Council (Cal. L. Bk. G. p. 198).

Seems to have been first called "dominus Mayor," 1440 (ib. K. p. 243).

Warden of the City

Appointed by the King from time to time in place of the Mayor, when the City had incurred his displeasure and he "took it into his own hands."

This occurred frequently in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I.

Ralph de Sandwich was warden 1288, Sir John le Breton in 1289 (Cal. L. Bk. A. p. 113).

Markets & Fairs

Bartholomew Fair

A celebrated fair held in West Smithfield at Bartholomewtide, lasting about 14 days. Described by Strype as held in a large tract of ground, with houses in rows in it, and greatly resorted to (ed. 1720, I. iii. 285).

Privilege of holding it confirmed by Henry I. to the Prior of St. Bartholomew's 1133, the duration to be three days. Afterwards granted to the Mayor and Sir Richard Rich. Occupied the site now known as Cloth Fair.

The Pie Powder Court was held here to regulate the laws of the Fair, etc.

Suppressed 1855 as a nuisance.


Evening markets in Westchepe and Cornhill in 1297 (See L. Bk. B. f. xxx. Set out in Riley's Mem., p. 33).

Several ordinances relating to them in the Letter Books.

Prohibited later on account of disorders arising from them.

London Markets

See Cheapside, Cheap (west), Honey Lane Market, Fleet Market, Farringdon Market, Eastcheap, Billingsgate Market, Leadenhall Market, Newgate Market, London Central Markets, Smithfield Market, Old Fish Market, Stocks Market, Woolchurch Market.

These markets have not all been in existence at the same period, nor for the same purposes, and some are merely the successors of the older ones.

In addition to these permanent markets, fairs were held at specified times in specified places, as Bartholomew Fair, etc.

There is an interesting account of the amounts payable out of the annual rents of the markets in 1691–2 in H. MSS. Com. 13th Rep. V. 304–5.

CITY MARKETS.—Out of the annual rents of the markets there is payable yearly:

To the Lord Mayor......£100 0s. 0d.

To the 3 clerks of the market at £3 per week each......£468 0s. 0d.

To the Under Water Bailif, 5s. per week......£13 0s. 0d.

To the four fruiterers, £10 per annum......£40 0s. 0d.

Interest of £1550 deposited as security for the due payment of the rent at 6s. per cent per an., which is annually paid, and the principal to be deducted at the last year's payment, which is to be allowed in the last half year of the time granted......£93 0s. 0d.

To the Co. of Vintners: Rent for the tenements in Lime St., parcel of the market at Leadenhall......£12 0s. 0d.

To the Co. of Skinners for the ground in the herb market in Grace Church St.......£16 13s. 4d.

To Mdm. Margaret Jarmin, an annuity by contract for ground laid into Woolchurch Market......£42 6s. 8d.

For the tithes of Hony Lane Market......£15 19s. 0d.

To the Minister of St. Peter's, Cornhill, for tithes out of Leadenhall......£4 0s. 0d.

To the Minister of St. Austin's for tithes out of Newgate Market......£8 0s. 0d.

For the poor of St. Faith out of the said market......£9 15s. 0d.

For the poor of Miclestreet (Michael Street) out of the market......£3 6s. 8d.

For the poor of Hony Lane out of said market......£5 4s. 0d.

(MSS. of House of Lords. H. MSS. Com. 13th Report, V. 304–5.)

Being part of the Answer of the Lord Mayer and Aldermen, Jan. 19, 1691–2. Orphan's Bill.

Nane Feyre, the

Instituted temp. Ed. I. to be held after dinner in Soper lane. But had speedily to be abolished on account of strifes and murders arising therefrom, 25 Ed. I. 1297. Had been instituted by strangers, foreigners, mendicants and others living three or four miles from London (Cal. L. Bk. B. p. 236).

Probably the None or Noon Fair.

Topographical Features, Districts, Precincts of the City

Bars, the

These were erected at various points outside the Walls, to mark the extreme limits of the City Liberties, and consisted of posts, rails and a chain. At Temple Bar, these were afterwards replaced by a Gate.


In the 13th century the population of London had so much increased that the supply of water from wells had become inadequate and liable to contamination, and it had become necessary to seek for fresh sources of supply outside the City area.

The western suburbs and surrounding villages were rich in streams and wells, and it was arranged about 1237 to bring a supply of water in pipes of wood from Tyburn to the City. In the 15th century a further supply was obtained from Paddington.

For the purpose of conserving this supply and making it available for public use, conduits and cisterns were established at suitable points in the City to which the citizens could have access, and bequests were frequently made by the citizens in later times towards the repair and maintenance of these conduits.

Besides the conduits and waterworks, the City was also until a recent period supplied with water from springs, and Strype mentions, as being especially excellent, pumps at St. Martin's Outwick; near St. Antholin's Church; in St. Paul's Churchyard and at Christ's Hospital.

Many of the conduits described by Stow had been removed before 1720, as being a hindrance to traffic, viz.: The Great Conduit at the east end of Cheapside; The Tun upon Cornhill; The Standard in Cheapside; The Little Conduit at the west end of Cheapside; The Conduit in Fleet Street; The Conduit in Gracechurch Street; The small Conduit at the Stocks Market; The Conduit at Dowgate.


In the will of Anketin de Betteville occurs the expression "saving to Matilda his wife her free bench out of his mansion in Bradstreet according to the custom of the City," 1290–1 (Ct. H.W. I. 96).

Robert de Wyrcestre gave to his wife for life by way of her free-bench his dwelling-house in the parish of St. Andrew, 1333 (ib. 389).

Free-bench is defined by Wharton in his Law Lexicon as a widow's dower out of copyholds to which she is entitled by the custom of some manors. This seems inconsistent with the contention that there were no manors properly so called in the City, but at the same time that it was a well-established custom of the City is shown by the ordinances relating to it set out in the Liber Albus, I. 68, 393. 

Gates of the City

According to Stow these were originally four in number, Aldgate, Aldersgate, Ludgate, and Bridgegate, and Roach Smith is of opinion that these were the four gates in the later Roman wall encircling the City and that the others were merely postern gates. However this may be, it is certain from recent discoveries and excavations that there was a gate of Roman construction at Newgate. Bishopsgate and Cripplegate must have been in existence from early times, as the two latter are mentioned in Ethelred's Londonia Institutae, c. 1000, and when Fitz Stephen wrote in 1174 he mentions seven double gates in the wall, which must have included Bridgegate, although he does not give the names. It seems doubtful whether Bridgegate was in existence in Roman times, and if the Wall of London was continued originally along the southern side of the City on the banks of the Thames it is probable that Billingsgate would have been the fourth and southern gate in the wall, although later, after the disappearance of the wall, it is only alluded to as a quay and watergate to the Thames.

The Letter Books of the City contain various ordinances for watching and keeping the gates, which duties were entrusted to the various wards, so many sharing the charge of a gate amongst them, and appointing men to keep guard over them. The gates enumerated in the ordinances of 1311 are as follows :

"Ludegate," "Newegate," "Aldresgate," "Crepelgate," "Bisshopesgate," "Alegate," and the "Bridge gate." They were to be closed at night at the beginning of curfew being rung at St. Martin's le Grand, and the wickets were then to be opened, and at the last stroke of curfew the wickets were to be closed and were not to be opened afterwards that night unless by special precept of the Mayor or Aldermen.

Besides the double gates there were posterns in the City Wall, as at the Tower and Aldermanbury (q.v.).

Moorgate was opened as a postern in 1415, and Strype mentions a Postern made opposite Winchester Street in 1636; one opposite Aldermanbury, 1655; one opposite Bassishaw Street soon after.

Gates pulled down by Monk 1659–60, and to be re–edified at the public charge (H. MSS. Com. 7th Rep. 462).

The gates were finally removed in 1760–1.

For further particulars see separate notices under their respective names.


A common suffix in place names in London, as Tymberhawe, Bothaw, Bordhawe, Bassishaw, New Church Haw, Maderhawe.

Hawe = O.E. "haga" = hedge or encompassing fence; a piece of ground enclosed or fenced in-a messuage-generally used to denote a "yard," "close," or "enclosure" as in "timber-hawe," and See "Church-hawe" (N.E.D.). 


As indicated s.v. "London," the levels of the City have varied considerably from time to time since its foundation, with the result that the present streets and buildings are at a much higher level than those of the ancient City. The subject is dealt with graphically in Plan 1, which shows the depth of the "made ground" in various localities and also the levels at which Roman remains of various kinds have been reached, so far as these have been ascertainable.

The London Clay has been reached in Copthall Avenue at a depth of 18–24 feet, under St. Mary le Bow at about 20 ft., and at Bishopsgate at about 30 ft., while the gravel has been reached at depths varying from 10 ft. at Beer Lane to 22 ft. at London Wall, and 30 ft. in Blomfield Street.

The marsh from the river's edge extends to about 300 ft. inland, the ground shelving upwards towards Thames Street.

Black boggy soil with indurated bog earth and peat have been found at different points in the area extending from Princes Street, Lothbury and Throgmorton Street to London Wall, and from Finsbury Pavement to Blomfield Street and New Broad Street.

It may be interesting to indicate the depths to which the "made ground" extends in different localities.

In the western area of the City the depth extends in Chancery Lane (Holborn end) to 12–14 ft.; Holborn Bars, to 13 ft.; Bartlett's Buildings, 7 ft.; Leather Lane, 10 ft.; Newgate Street, 11 ft.; Warwick Square, 18 ft.; New Bridge Street, 25 ft.; Blackfriars (Apothecaries' Hall), 12–12½ ft. Old Fish Street, 10 ft.; Godliman Street, 7½ ft.

In the Central area : Lombard Street, to 14 ft.; Bank of England, 22 ft.; Gracechurch Street, 16 ft.; Warnford Court, 221/2 ft.; Cannon Street, 9 ft.; King William Street, 11 ft.; Rood Lane, 15 ft.; Billingsgate, 27–35 ft.

In the eastern area : Gravel Lane, Houndsditch, to 184 ft.; Minories, 15 ft.; Royal Mint, 11 ft.; Royal Mint Street, 17 ft.; Tower Hill at Gt. Tower Street, 5½ ft.; Tower Hill at the western entrance to the Tower, 14–22 ft.

In the northern area: Jewin Crescent, to 23 ft.; Finsbury Pavement, 10–16 ft.; London Wall, 9½–12 ft.; Moorgate Street, 17–18 ft.; Bishopsgate, 7 ft.

It will thus be seen that the depth varies from 7 to 35 feet over the entire area.


The word "liberty" is frequently used to denote the privileged areas also known as "precincts," which are dealt with under that head.

But the word "liberties" is also used to denote the outlying areas not included within the City walls, which extended from the Wall and the Gates to the Bars and were originally known as the "portsoken," the soke or liberty without the gate. In London this term "portsoken" came to be exclusively applied to the eastern suburb, but in other large cities it was used indifferently to denote all or any of the suburbs lying outside the city gates. In early deeds relating to London, however, such land is generally referred to as "in suburbio London."

Thus we find described : "Messuage with curtilage in the suburb of London without Allgate adjoining St. Botolph's churchyard," 52 H. III. (Anc. Deeds, A. 2587). "Rents in the suburb of London without Bysshopesgate," 41 Ed. III. (ib. B. 2300). "Land, etc., in Secollane in the suburb of London in the ward of Faryngdon Without" (ib. C. 3580). "Messuage apud Flete in Suburbio London" (Ch. I. p.m. 23 Ed. III. No. 127). "Tenement in the suburb of London without Crepelgate in Everardeswellestrat within the bar" (Anc. Deeds, A. 11861). "Messuage in Fletestrete in parish of St. Bridget in the suburbs of London" (Ch. I. p.m. 28 Ed. I. 77). "Same collectors appointed for the collection of murage, etc., in the suburbs without the gates as for the gates themselves," 10 Rich. II. 1386–7 (Cal. L. Bk. H. p. 300).

These outlying districts came in course of time to be attached to the nearest adjoining ward within the City walls, forming thenceforth an integral portion of such ward, which was thenceforth distinguished by the terms "Within" and "Without," thus "Bishopsgate Within and Without," "Cripplegate Within and Without," "the Ward of Farriagdon Within and Without" was temp. Richard II. separated into two distinct wards, with separate Aldermen.

These liberties are still included within the boundaries of the City area, while the term "suburb" has been indefinitely extended to embrace the outlying districts, which formerly existed as separate villages but are now united to form the County of London and the area of Greater London beyond. The Liberties correspond to the "pomerium," or "territorium" of the Roman city states, the unbuilt on territory appertaining to the City.


It is not possible within the limits of this work to deal with this complicated and difficult subject, especially as any attempt at a concise definition of the term is apt to be misleading in the present state of knowledge on the matter.

Maitland, Vinogradoff and Seebohm have done much by their able writings to elucidate the difficulties and to remove some prevalent misconceptions, and a careful study of their works is to be recommended to anyone who wishes to gain useful knowledge on this subject.

It has always been assumed that manors were non-existent within the limits of the City of London, and were wholly alien to the conditions of free-burgage tenure under which it was held by the King. But if this position is maintained, yet it is certain that there existed within the City from early times certain privileged areas known as "sokes," forming independent estates in the hands of private individuals, which were exempt from the jurisdiction of the City, and possessed of their own courts and officers.

Stow in his Survey of London mentions one or two estates which he describes as manors, but in his time the word seems to have acquired a wider and looser signification than it possessed in earlier days, when a definite technical meaning was attached to it.

See Soke.

Maps of London

There are no maps of London extant earlier than the 16th century, but from that time a regular series exists, some of which are of the utmost value and interest.

The largest and most comprehensive are as follows : Agas' map, c. 1561–70; Hogenburg, c. 1578 (various states); Porter's map, c. 1660; Faithorne's map, 1658; Leake, 1666; Ogilby and Morgan, 1677; Rocque, 1746, 1755, 1763; Strype's maps, 1720 and 1755; Horwood, 1799; Greenwood, 1827–9; O.S. 1848–51, 1875, 1880, 1894, etc.

Agas' map is interesting on account of its early date, but it is not an accurate delineation of the City, and its representations have to be accepted with caution. The Guildhall copy is the more useful of the editions published.

Hogenberg's map is good, but small. There are several different editions of it, in different states.

Porter's map is useful as showing the City before the Fire, but not large enough for practical purposes.

Faithorne's map is not accurate to scale.

Leake's map, containing Hollar's survey after the Fire, is most interesting as showing the devastation wrought at that time, and the state of the City prior to the rebuilding.

Ogilby and Morgan's Survey on the scale of 100 ft. to the inch is the first really accurate survey of the City that has come down to us. It is indispensable to a careful study of the streets and buildings as they existed immediately after the Fire and before the rebuilding was entirely completed. The reproduction of this map by the L. and M. Arch. Soc. is a useful piece of work.

Rocque's maps are very valuable and detailed, but not strictly accurate in measurements. The scale is 26 in. to 1 mile.

The ward maps in Strype's Survey are useful, but the maps of 1755 have to be used with caution as they do not always record the alterations that had taken place in the City subsequently to 1720, when the plates were originally engraved.

Horwood's map of 1799, also on the scale of 26 in. to 1 mile, is a splendid monument of skill and industry, and the numbering of the houses makes it possible sometimes to identify property with marvellous accuracy.

Greenwood's map, 1827–9, is useful, but it is not on so large a scale as some of the preceding ones, and is, therefore, not so valuable for detailed work.

The Ordnance Survey maps produced in and since 1848 are beyond all praise and are indispensable to the student of London Topography. It is much to be regretted that it has not been possible to adhere to the earlier methods of engraving employed in the editions of 1875 and 1880.

Amongst the smaller maps, of which there are countless numbers from 1666 onwards, mention may be made of Norden's map, 1598, Ryther's map of 1608, and Faden's and Carey's maps published in the 18th and 19th centuries.


These were certain privileged areas within the City of London which, prior to 1697, were exempt from the jurisdiction of the City, and possessed the rights of sanctuary, of electing their own sheriffs, of freedom from arrest within the precinct, etc.

These privileges seem to have been derived from the charters and exemptions bestowed upon the monastic foundations whether by royal decree or by papal bull, and to have continued in force within the privileged areas after the monastic bodies on whom they were bestowed had been swept away.

The word "precinct" signified the space enclosed by walls or other boundaries of a place or building, from the Low Latin "precinctum" = boundary.

These precincts included : St. Martin's le Grand; Blackfriars; Whitefriars; St. Katherine's by the Tower, formerly in Portsoken Ward; Tower Liberties, Minories precinct; Old Artillery Ground; The Temple; Duke's Place, Aldgate.

In course of time the possession and exercise of these privileges led to grave abuses, with the result that many of these areas became the resort of characters of the lowest class and were a serious menace to the peace and security of the inhabitants of the City.

The privileges were abolished by Act of Parliament, 1697, and the areas again brought under the jurisdiction of the City.


There seem to have been several of these open spaces in different parts. of the City in early days, as, for instance, in Tower Ward, in Billingsgate Ward, in Dowgate Ward, in Queenhithe Ward.

Wheatley says that in front of the larger monastic establishments, as at St. Albans,. Bury St. Edmond's, etc., there were large open spaces railed oft, used at any rate at Waltham as a market place, and he suggests that they may have been generally so used in early times.

It is interesting to note that in a decree of Chancery 37 H. VIII., confirming to the citizens the possession of the Romeland at Billingsgate, it is expressly stated that markets had been held time out of mind on both the Romelands at Billingsgate and at Queenhithe.

Dr. Sharpe says that it was a name given to an open space near a dock where ships could discharge (Cal. L. Bk. F. p. 175, note).

A writer in the Archæologia, XXXVI. Pt. 2, 410–12, suggests that the rents of these lands were appropriated to the use of the See of Rome, and so were called "Romelands," as Peter's pence was called "Rome-scot."

It seems probable that the word is derived from the A.S. "Ram" = open, cleared, roomy, and that they were, as Dr. Sharpe suggests, large open spaces that could be used for the purpose of discharging a cargo, etc., or as a "market" place for the disposal of these cargoes or other wares.

It should be noted that all the Romelands mentioned were in close proximity to what were the principal wharves of the City in early times.


Stow describes them as sheds or shops, but Riley thinks he is in error in thus describing them.

He says there seems to be every reason to conclude from various passages in the City records that these selds were extensive warehouses, similar probably to the Eastern bazaars, with numerous rooms in them and fitted with aumbries, or cupboards, chests and locks and let to various tenants; while in some instances a mere vacant plot of ground (placea) within the seld is mentioned as being let (Mem. xviii.).

Thus, for instance: In 1318 John Sturmy let to Hamon Godchep "a place of ground in the great seld which formerly belonged to the Lady Roisia de Coventre situate in the Westchepe of London (Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 85). In 1320 Richard and Margery Godchep let a room in their seld in the parish of St. Mary le Bow in Westchepe, together with the chests and aumbries therein (Cal. L. Bk. E. p.134). Two chests in the seld of St. Martin le Grand mentioned in Will of 1315–16 (Ct. H.W. I. 259). Aumbry with three chests belonging to Thomas de Worstede in the seld of Richard Costantyn, 1346 (ib. 489).

See also: Tanner's Seld, Girdler's Seld, Brodeselde, Winchester Seld, Painted Seld, Brantefeldesselde, Goodchepselde, Crowned Seld, Aernselde or Berneselde, Arraces selde, Andoverselde, White tawyers seld.


Although London has been generally regarded as exempt from feudal tenures, there is abundant evidence in old deeds and records relating to the City to prove that it contained within its limits several "sokes," or privileged areas, exempt from the jurisdiction of the City, in addition to those within the Liberties, but without the Walls.

Queen Matilda had a soke in the City at Aldgate (Cal. L. Bk. C. p. 224).

Soke of "Aldresmaneberi" and soke of the Earl of Gloucester mentioned III 5–30 (MS. D. and C. St. Paul's, Liber L.).

The Archbishop of Canterbury had his soke in or near the parish of St. Mary Somerset (Anc. Deeds, A. 1803).

"Blanchesapeltuna" lay in the soke of Robert de Valonus, 1177 (ib. A. 7295).

A number of religious houses held their "sokas" in London, but by whose warrant is not known, 3 Ed. I. (Rot. Hund. I. 404).

The Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's had sokes at Cornhill, in Bysshopesgate and Holeburn and held Courts there, 14 Ed. II. (Quo. Warr. p. 456).

There is a long list of sokes in London, issuing from various tenements, etc., in MSS. D. and C. St. Paul's, W.D. 9, fo. 5, MS. temp. Ric. II.

In the terms "sac" and "soc," "sac" was the power and privilege of hearing and determining causes and disputes, levying of forfeitures and fines, executing laws and administering justice within a certain precinct (See Ellis, Introduction to Domesday Book, I. 273). "Soc" or "socn" was strictly the right of investigating, or seeking, or, as Spelman defines it, "Cognitio quam dominus habet in curia sua de causis litibusque inter vassallos suos ex orientibus." It was also the territory or precinct in which the sacu and other privileges were exercised (Thorpe's Diplomatarium, Glossary, p. 394).

Stubbs is of opinion that the form is an alliterative jingle which will not bear close analysis (Const. Hist. I. 73).


There were several "Standards" in the City used for the supply of water with conduits or cisterns in them.

Migne defines "Standardus" as "Forte castellum, aquae receptaculum."


These seem to have been low stone posts set up at each end of London Bridge.

The Stoples or Stulps in Southwark are frequently mentioned and in 1375 are referred to as marking the boundary of the Ward of Briggestrete (Bridge Ward (Within)) at the end of London Bridge (Cal. L. Bk. H.p. 93, and See Cal. L. Bk. K. p. 3).

Earliest mention: "les Stouples," 1349 (Ct. H.W. I. 591).

Grafton, in describing the contest on London Bridge during Jack Cade's rebellion, speaks of the Londoners being "bet backe to the 'stuples at Saint Magnus corner,'" 1450 (Grafton's Chron. p. 643).

Various forms of name: "Stouples," 1349 (Ct. H.W. I. 591). "Stoples," 1356 (Lond. Topog. Rec. V. 169). "Stoples," 1372 (Cal. L. Bk. G. 300). "Stoples," 1372 (Cal. L. Bk. H. p. 93). "Stulpes," 1375 (ib.).

The word "stulp" in the Dialect Dictionary = a post, pillar, especially a boundary post, a prop, support, etc. The various forms given are "stolp," "stoup," "stoop," in use in different parts of the country, especially in the north and east. Compare Icel. "stolpi," Sw. Dan. "stolpe," M. D. "stolpe," a post. M. E. "stulpe," "stolpe."

It is worthy of note that in addition to these references to the stulps or posts erected at each end of the Bridge to mark its site and extent, and at the Southwark end to determine the boundary of Bridge Ward Within, the word occurs in early records as applied to other property in various parts of the City.

The tenement of Henry de Hardyngham in the parish of St. Michael Cornhill, 1356–7 is called "le Stoples" (Ct. H.W. I. 695).

A brewery in the same parish in 1419 is called "les Stulpes" now "le Swan on the hop" opposite "le Tonne" (ib. II. 444).

Tenement in Watlyngstret in parish of St. Mary de Aldermarichirche in 1397 called "le Stulpes " (ib. 328).


It is so universal a practice in the present day for all classes of trades to be carried on in the same street, that one is apt to forget that in early days it was the custom for men of a particular trade to congregate together and to have their special locality, street, or quarter in a town, as in the East at the present time, with the result that in course of time the street or quarter came to be designated by the name of the particular trade exercised there. These trade designations survive in London in Ironmonger Row, Wood Street, Milk Street, Poultry, etc. Trades in those days were in some ways more jealously regulated and guarded than they are now, and it was not possible for a man to engage in a trade unless he had been carefully trained for it and was duly qualified to practise it. There was no place for bad or inefficient workmen, who would bring discredit on the trade. Hence the tendency for men of a particular trade to congregate together for strength and security.

The nature of a trade may have also sometimes made it desirable that it should be carried on in some particular locality, and certain methods practised in common. Thus we find in London the Goldsmithery, where the Goldsmiths practised; the Ironmongery, the quarter inhabited by the Ironmongers, now Ironmonger Row; the Poultry for the poulterers; the "bocherie" for the butchers at Eastcheap and at Newgate; the Ropary, and so on. It is possible that if the subject could be followed up more closely, the early records of the City would yield further interesting information and would show more clearly what were the localities occupied by the various traders at different dates.


The wards seem generally to have grown along the line of a main street and often about a main crossing. The street which forms the main artery of the Ward generally gives it its name.

  1. Each of the principal gates gives or has given its name to a ward, which was formed about the main street leading to the gate.

    Aldgate: Aldgate and the eastern parts of Leadenhall and Fenchurch Streets.
    Bishopsgate: Bishopsgate Street and north part of Gracechurch Street.
    Cripplegate: Wood Street.
    Aldersgate: St. Martin le Grand—which, however, is not the axis of the ward.
    Newgate: Newgate Street.
    Ludgate: Ludgate Hill, formerly Ludgate Street, and before that Bowyer Row. At present very short, but did it join Watling Street and did Castle Baynard Ward encroach? From Strype's account of the enclosing of St Paul's Churchyard, ed. 1720, I. iii. 143, the high street of Ludgate seems to have extended at that time to Watling Street at St. Augustine's Gate.
    Newgate and Ludgate: continued as Farringdon Within.
  2. Other Wards having a main artery or Crossing ✠


    Bridge ✠: Fish Street Hill, formerly Bridge Street, crossed by Eastcheap.
    Broad Street: Broad Street. Not very central at present, but probably the north-western part of the ward was little better than a swamp.
    Candlewick: East part of Cannon Street and west part of Eastcheap.
    Walbrook: West part of Cannon Street. Walbrook and Candlewick Wards seem both formed about the same axis and may possibly have once formed a single ward.
    Cornhill: Cornhill.
    Langbourn: Lombard Street (sometimes called Langbourn Street) and Fenchurch Street. (This, like Bishopsgate Ward, forms an isthmus at a main crossing and then expands again. This tends to negative any theory that the wards were formed about a crossing, unless the present wards represent the breaking up of larger wards.)
    Tower: Tower Street.
    Coleman Street: Coleman Street.
    Bread Street ✠: Bread Street and Watling Street.
    Cordwainer: Watling Street. These two wards [Bread Street and Watling Street] may have formed one, having Watling Street as their axis. Bread Street is not axial to the ward, though it gives it its present name. Only the southern part of Bow Lane (formerly Cordwainer Street) is in Cordwainer Ward. It may probably have taken its name from the Cordwainery, but the earliest list of wards gives the name Cordwanerstrete Ward.
  3. The following seem to have taken their names from districts rather than from thoroughfares:

    Bassishaw: Bassing Hall or Bassies haw.
    Vintry: The Vintry.
  4. The southern wards seem to have been formed on a different principle to the others. Thames Street at present runs through them all. Castle Baynard suggests encroachment and may originally have extended only to Knightrider Street or Carter Lane. Some of these wards, as Queenhithe, Dowgate, seem to have been named from the ports or wharfs on the river side.

    Cheap: The great thoroughfare now Cheapside which gives it its name is not axial. Only the eastern portion is in the ward, which includes also the Poultry. This suggests rearrangement.
    Lime Street: Is anomalous, as the street so named is the boundary of the ward. It may have been cut off from Bishopsgate Ward or Aldgate Ward, probably the latter, as Lime Street is the only street which for any considerable length forms a ward boundary. The portion of Leadenhall Street included in Lime Street was formerly called Cornhill.
    Billingsgate: Is formed round the crossing made by Botolph Lane, Philpot Lane, Little Eastcheap, and Smithers Street. Its formation suggests what seems for other reasons likely that the gate called Billingsgate was at the south end of Botolph Lane.

It is interesting to note that all the ward boundaries running up from the river coincide for some distance with parish boundaries.

The division into wards preceded the division into parishes, and the parochial boundaries are independent of the municipal boundaries.

The wards were known originally for the most part by the names of their respective Aldermen, and in the earliest records, with one or two exceptions, they are referred to in this way, and not by their present topographical designations.

It has been suggested that the wards represented in many instances the estates of the Aldermen who presided over them, or at least that they possessed very considerable property in them, and that the succession to them was hereditary.

The earliest list of wards seems to be that contained in the MS. D. and C. of St. Paul's, Liber L. ff. 47–50, a facsimile of which is given in Price's Guildhall, p. 16. The date is about 1130. There are twenty wards included in this list, but as it is not intended to be an enumeration of the wards, but of the property possessed by the church of St. Paul in London, it is not possible to deduce any argument from this as to the actual number of wards into which the City was divided at that time.

With two exceptions the wards in this MS. are named after the Aldermen and not by their topographical designations. The two exceptions are: "Fori" = Cheap, and "Alegate" = Aldgate.

It is possible to identify some of the other wards by the streets or churches alluded to in the descriptions of the property, and these identifications have been attempted by the Rev. W. J. Loftie in his "London" (Hist. Towns Series), and in Beavan's "Aldermen of London," I. 363.

These identifications have been made as follows:

Warda Episcopi = Castle Baynard.
Warda Haconis = Broad Street.
Warda Aiwoldi = Cripplegate.
Warda Fori = Cheap.
Warda Edwardi Parole = Bishopsgate.
Warda Algar Manningestepesun = Candlewick.
Warda Rudulfi filii Liuiue = Cornhill.
Warda Alegate = Aldgate.
Warda Godwini filii Esgari = Tower.
Warda Brichman Borlain = Bassishaw.
Warda Brichman Monetarii = Aldersgate.
Warda Sperlingi = Billingsgate.
Warda Herberti = Walbrook.
Warda Osberti Dringepinn = Vintry.
Warda Liuredi = Cordwainer.
Warda Brocesgange = Dowgate.
Warda Hugonis filii Ulgari = Queenhithe.
Warda Reimundi = Coleman Street.
Warda Radulfi filii Algodi = Bread Street.
Warda Eilwardi filii Wizeli = Not identified.

Farringdon Ward or Ludgate and Newgate, Langbourn—Portsoken—and Bridge Wards not included, or three of them. "Warde Haconis" may be Coleman Street Ward. See Warda Harconis.

The earliest authentic list of wards in City and Public Records occur in the Rotuli Hundredorum 3 Ed. I. p. 423, and in Cal. L. Bk. A. p. 228, c. 1285–6. In the former they are enumerated under the names of the Aldermen, in the latter under their topographical names. In both lists the number of wards is 24.

This number remained unaltered until 17 Rich. II., when the formal division of Farringdon into the Wards Within and Without the Walls took place.

In 1550 the number was further increased to 26 owing to the purchase by the Mayor and Commonalty of the City of the Liberties of the Borough of Southwark, forming Bridge Ward Without.

In early times the defence of the City Gates, etc., was undertaken by the wards adjacent to them.

An indication of the condition of the wards in respect to material prosperity may be obtained from the assessments to the fifteenths or other taxes levied on the City from time to time as recorded in the City Letter Books.

Churches, Parishes, Religious Offices & Fraternities


Bequest to the Anchorite at the church of St. Peter de Cornhulle and to every other Anchorite in London, in will of Henry de Causton, 1350 (Ct. H.W. I. 638).

Richard de Elmham, Canon of St. Martin's le Grand bequeathed to every anchorite in London a penny, 1228 (Arch. Journal, XXIV. 341).

These bequests are typical of many made by the London citizens to the various anchorites and anchoresses in London, recorded in the Ct. of Hustings Wills, etc.

These Anchorites formed a very numerous body throughout the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries, and were held in high honour on account of the austerity and devotion of their lives.

The "Ancren Riwle," an English treatise of the 13th century, gives the most elaborate rules for the conduct of an anchoress and throws much light on their mode of life.

There is an interesting account of the Anchorites of London in the Churchwardens' Accounts of the parish of All Hallows, London Wall, by Charles Welch, published by the London and Middlesex Archeological Society.

An Ancris (Anchoress) by Bishopsgate received 40s. the year of the Sheriffs of London (S. 165).

Black Friars

A house of Dominican Friars near Ludgate on the site known later as the precinct of Blackfriars.

Founded in 1221, by Hubert de Burgh, who gave the Friars land in Holborn for their house. Gift confirmed to the Canons of the Preaching Friars in 1224 by John Bokointe (Duchy of Lanc. Anc. Deeds, L.S. 59). In 46 Hen. III. licence was granted to them to enclose a lane for the enlargement of their house in Holborn (I. p.m. 42).

In 1278 the Friars received a grant of the site of Castle Baynard for the erection of a church and cloister and other buildings (Cal. Chart. R. II. 211), and the old site in Holborn was sold to Henry de Laci, earl of Lincoln (Cal. P.R. Ed. I. 1279–88, p. 428).

Permission was given to the Friars to pull down a portion of the City wall for the erection of their house, and in 1283–4 the King directed that the wall should be rebuilt by the City (Cal. L. Bk. B. p. 56) outside the Friars' precincts.

In 1294 a quay was in course of construction on the Thames at their house (Cal. Close R. 1288–96, p. 373).

By 1315 the City wall was still incomplete and customs were granted by the King in aid of the work, so that it might be completed, between the river Flete and the house of the Preaching Friars as far as the Thames, and also for the erection of a new turret adjoining the wall (Cal. L. Bk. E. 63).

The site of the monastery comprised the small parish church of St. Ann, the splendid coventual church, the churchyard and cloisters, the chapter house and priory buildings, and extended from the Wall of London and Bridewell Ditch west to Puddle Dock east and from the Thames north to the Wall of London, just south of Ludgate Hill.

It is frequently referred to in records as used for public purposes.

Divers Parliaments met there and the Emperor Charles V. was lodged there in 1522 (S. 341).

It was surrendered to the King 30 H. VIII. and portions of the site were granted by him to various persons. The site of the priory was given by Ed. VI. to Thomas Cawardine in 1549–50, and a description of the house and precinct with measurements is given in the Inquisition, 2 Eliz., taken at his death (Lond. I. p.m. I. 191).

There was an Anker's cell within the precincts.

The special privileges granted to the monastery continued to be enjoyed by the inhabitants living within the precincts of the Black Friars for many years after the dissolution of the monastery and the destruction of the conventual buildings, etc., and were abolished until 1735.

The famous Blackfriars theatre was erected on part of the site about 1596, in spite of protests from some of the inhabitants (L. and P. Ed. VI. iv. 310), but pulled down 1655, and the site converted into tenements.

The Times newspaper office now occupies a considerable portion of the site, besides numerous streets, as Printing House Square, Glasshouse Yard, Playhouse Yard, Ireland Yard.

There is an interesting Survey of the Blackfriars, made in 1548, amongst the Loseley MSS. catalogued in H. MSS. Com. 7th Rep. and printed in Gent. Mag. Lib. XV. pp. 48 et seq.

In 1900 some remains of the priory of 13th-century work were brought to light between Friar Street and St. Anne's churchyard (Lond. Topog. Rec. I. 1). 


See Whitefriars and Mary (St.) of the Carmelite Friars.

Chaplains of London, Parish

In 1319 William, Parson of the Church of St. Mary Woolnoth, is mentioned as the Pitancier of the Community of Parish Chaplains of London (Riley's Mem. xliv.).


The Carthusians, occupying the Charterhouse, without Aldersgate, 1375 (Ct. H.W. II. 170).


This word was employed in early times to denote (1) A Christian community organised as a self-governing unit for administrative purposes. (2) The spiritual and administrative charge of some dependent section of such a unit. (3) The temporal emoluments and profits belonging to such a unit or to some section of it. Prior to the 13th century, the term so used never included tithes.

Oratories or altars served by a single priest are the origin of most of the village churches the word oratory (oratoria) meaning a prayer station. They were also called capellae (chapels). The clergy who ministered at these oratories were the mass-priests of their founders, and their patrons levied tribute on the offerings made by the faithful in such chapelries. There was no compulsion to pay tithes to them.

In the 12th century the term "church" was applied to these oratories.

See Churches.


The origin of the word is treated under the head "Church" (q.v.).

The number of churches in London and its immediate suburbs, or within the City boundaries, has varied considerably at different times, but in early days it was extraordinarily large for the area of the City. Indeed this will be found to be the case in most old cities and towns, as for example in Exeter, and in the towns of France, etc. It is possible that many of them originated as "oratories," as explained under the article "Church," and that their elevation to the dignity of a parish church was a later development, rendered necessary by the rapid increase of population within the City.

The priests in charge of London churches are frequently called in early documents, "chaplains."

In 1174, when Fitz Stephen wrote, there were in London 13 large conventual churches and 126 smaller parochial churches, 139 in all. This seems a large number compared with the later records, and perhaps 126 is an error for 106, unless he included those in. the suburbs, Westminster, Southwark, etc.

In 1361–2 there were 109 parish churches, including St. Leonard Shoreditch and St. Mary Islington, and 6 chapels and 1 hospital church, besides the conventual churches (Lib. Cust. I. 228–30).

In 1371 there were 106 parish churches, 30 prebends of St. Paul's, and 2 chapels within the liberties (Cal. L. Bk. G. p. 282).

In 1428 again 106, including St. Augustine's Papey (ib. K. 71).

The conventual churches are not enumerated in the later lists.

In Stow's time the number of parish churches in London and the suburbs was 123.

Arnold and Fabyan, writing earlier in the century, give the numbers respectively as 154 and 168, but these would include the conventual churches, subsequently destroyed.

Probably the earliest list of the churches in London is that contained in the register of the Bishop of London, viz.: Fulk Basset's register 1241–59, in MSS. D. and C. St.. Paul's (W.D. 9, fo. 48b), but it does not include the 13 peculiars (q.v.) which were exempt from the jurisdiction of the Bishop.

In 1290 the churches are enumerated in the "Taxatio" of Pope Nicholas, together with the amounts of their contributions to the taxation (Harl. MS.).

The Liber Custumarum contains an interesting list of churches and patrons of 31 Ed. I. (I. 228–30).

Later there are the lists compiled by Arnold and Fabyan, as mentioned above in their chronicles in the early part of the 16th century, and Stow's list in 1603.

In the Fire of London, 89 churches, including St. Paul's Cathedral, were destroyed, and many of these were not rebuilt.

Since that time the number of churches in the City has steadily diminished, the sacred buildings having been demolished for the formation of new thoroughfares, the widening of existing streets, or for the erection of huge blocks of offices and warehouses, on the plea that the churches are no longer required for the reduced population of the City.

There are now within the City area 52 Churches, including St. Paul's Cathedral and Austinfriars, now the Dutch church, viz.: Allhallows Barking ; Allhallows, Lombard Street ; Allhallows, London Wall ; Austinfriars (Dutch church); Christchurch, Newgate Street; St. Alban, Wood Street; St. Alphage, London Wall; St. Andrew, Holborn; St. Andrew Undershaft; St. Andrew by the Wardrobe; St. Anne and St. Agnes; St. Augustine, Watling Street; St. Bartholomew the Great; St. Bartholomew the Less; St. Botolph Aldersgate; St. Botolph, Aldgate; St. Botolph Bishopsgate; St. Bride, Fleet Street; St. Clement, Eastcheap; St. Dunstan in the East; St. Dunstan in the West; St. Edmund the King and Martyr; St. Ethelburga; St. Giles, Cripplegate; St. Helen; St. James, Garlickhithe; St. Katherine Colman; St. Katherine Cree; St. Lawrence Jewry; St. Magnus the Martyr; St. Margaret, Lothbury; St. Margaret Pattens; St. Martin, Ludgate; St. Mary Abchurch; St. Mary, Aldermanbury; St. Mary Aldermary; St. Mary le Bow; St. Mary at Hill; St. Mary Woolnoth; St. Michael, Cornhill; St. Michael Paternoster Royal; St. Mildred, Bread Street; St. Nicholas Coleabbey; St. Olave, Hart Street; St. Peter, Cornhill; St. Sepulchre; St. Stephen, Coleman Street; St. Stephen Walbrook; St. Swithin, London Stone; St. Vedast, Foster Lane; St. Paul's Cathedral; Temple Church. But the names and boundaries of the old parishes are still preserved, and include, in addition to the above the following : Allhallows, Bread Street; *All hallows, Honey Lane; Allhallows, Staining; Allhallows the Great; *Allhallows the Less; *Holy Trinity the Less; *St. Andrew, Hubbard; *St. Ann, Blackfriars; St. Antholin; St. Bartholomew by the Exchange; St. Benet Fink; St. Benet Gracechurch; St. Benet, Paul's Wharf; *St. Benet Sherehog; *St. Botolph, Billingsgate; St. Christopher le Stocks; St. Dionis, Backchurch; *St. Faith under St. Paul's; *St. Gabriel Fenchurch; *St. Gregory by St. Paul's; St. James, Duke's Place; *St. John, Walbrook; *St. John the Evangelist, Friday Street; *St. John Zachary; *St. Lawrence Pountney; *St. Leonard, Eastcheap; *St. Leonard, Foster Lane; *St. Margaret Moses; *St. Margaret, New Fish Street; *St. Martin Orgars; St. Martin Outwich; *St. Martin Pomary; *St. Martin, Vintry; *St. Mary Bothaw; *St. Mary Colechurch; *St. Mary Magdalen, Milk Street; St. Mary Magdalen, Old Fish Street; *St. Mary Mounthaw; St. Mary Somerset; *St. Mary Staining; *St. Mary Woolchurchhaw; St. Matthew, Friday Street; St. Michael, Bassishaw; St. Michael, Crooked Lane; St. Michael, Queenhithe; *St. Michael le Querne; St. Michael, Wood Street; St. Mildred, Poultry; *St. Nicholas Acons; *St. Nicholas Olave; St. Olave Jewry; *St. Olave, Silver Street; *St. Pancras, Soper Lane; *St. Peter, Paul's Wharf; St. Peter le Poor; *St. Peter, Westcheap; *St. Thomas Apostle; making the total number of churches 109, and of parishes 106.

Of these churches and parishes St. Anne Blackfriars, and St. James' Duke's Place are of comparatively modern origin, having been established after the dissolution of the monasteries to provide churches for the inhabitants of the precincts of the Blackfriars and of the Priory of Holy Trinity, respectively. Holy Trinity, Minories, was also made a church and parish after the suppression of the Abbey of Minoresses there, but it is not included in the foregoing list, the church is no longer used for Divine worship, and the parish has been reunited to that of St. Botolph Aldgate. Christ Church, Newgate Street, absorbed the old parishes of St. Audoen and St. Nicholas ad macellas.

It will be observed that these figures correspond very closely with those given in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries, and the number of parishes would seem to have undergone very little variation during the intervening period. The distinctive change consists in the number of churches destroyed or removed since the 16th century.

Considerable changes would seem to have taken place during the 12th–13th centuries, if FitzStephen's figures are to be accepted as accurate, unless, as suggested above, his figures include the churches in the suburbs. One church at least was removed during this period, namely the church of St. Olave, Broad Street, for the erection of the Austin-friars monastery in the 13th century, while in the 12th century the parish of Holy Trinity, Aldgate, absorbed three or four of the older parishes into one.

* Destroyed in the fire 1666 and not rebuilt.

Churches, Dedications

It is well to bear in mind the following facts with reference to the dedications of churches. Their consecration was formalised into a definite ceremony in the time of Constantine the Great (d. 337), and the custom of distinguishing them by special names then became universal, although evidences of the custom exist nearly a century earlier. Founders of churches desired to place their foundations under the protection of some saint, and worshippers in these churches in later times added in gratitude after the name of the saint, the name of the founder, to keep it in perpetual remembrance. The rebuilding of a church was sometimes made the occasion, at the re-consecration, of a change of name, so that in 816 Archbishop Wulfred ordered that on or by every Altar an inscription should be set up recording its dedication name. If this canon had been observed many original dedications might have been preserved, but it appears to have been greatly neglected. In early times the designation "Saint" seems to have been bestowed on individuals of conspicuous holiness by the Christian community to which he or she belonged, and not necessarily by the Pope or even by a bishop in the first instance. This accounts for the large number of more or less obscure persons so distinguished in ecclesiastical nomenclature. It appears from the letters of St. Cyprian that this practice was open to abuse, and that the bishops considered it necessary to use caution in order to guard against the recognition of undeserving persons. It was not until the 12th century that the Pope reserved to himself the right to add to the roll of saints and that a regular form of procedure was established in the Roman Courts to test and to pronounce on the title of persons to the public esteem of the church, 1170. The earliest instance of the issue of a solemn decree of canonisation is by Ulric, Bishop of Augsburg, 993.

Frequent instances of double dedications occur in London and elsewhere, and these may arise in four ways: (1) From the original intention of the founder, who may have desired for special reasons to place his church under the particular guardianship of more than one saint. (2) The natural tendency above mentioned to associate the founder's name with that of the saint whom he had himself chosen. (3) The practice of re-dedicating churches under some new name and making use of both of the old and of the new dedications. (4) The union or consolidation of two previously distinct parishes.

After the Reformation in the time of Henry VIII., there were many changes in dedications, the tendency being to restrict dedications to the Apostles of our Lord, to the Blessed Trinity, or to the Blessed Saviour. The dedications of many churches to St. Thomas of Canterbury were changed at that time to St. Thomas the Apostle.

The dedications chosen for churches in London in early times are attributable to three influences, Saxon, Danish, French; such names as St. Ethelburga, St. Etheldreda suggest Saxon influence. St. Olave, St. Magnus, seem to be attributable to Danish influence. St. Mary Magdalene, St. Stephen, St. Vedast to the Norman Conquest, introducing French influence.

Another interesting fact calls for attention in connection with the dedications of churches in early times to the Holy Trinity. Several instances occur of the dedication of churches to the Holy Trinity and to our Saviour Christ, so that the designations are used interchangeably to denote the same church. Thus the Priory of Holy Trinity, Aldgate, is frequently referred to as Christ Church Priory. Christ Church, Canterbury Cathedral, is also designated the church of the Holy Trinity. Christ Church in Hampshire was originally dedicated to the Holy Trinity, but being rebuilt by Flambard, temp. Wm. II., was rededicated to "Our Saviour Christ." 

Churches, Endowments

In studying old deeds and records it is desirable to note the meaning of the following terms employed in the making of endowments : "Dare et concedare," usual form of gift. "Beneficium" = endowment. "Parochia"=parochial endowment. "Taxatio" = assigned endowment, i.e. assignment of share in existing endowments. "Persona," "personatus" one who administers ecclesiastical property without having any cure of souls. "Capellana, capellaria" = in 11th and 12th centuries the share of ecclesiastical revenues appertaining to the cure of souls. Called in the 13th century the "Attalagium" or x"Vicarage." The holder, apart from the administration of other ecclesiastical revenues, was called in the 11th century "Capellanus." In the 13th century "Vicarius." When the "persona" combines in his own person the office of administration of tithes with the "Capellaria," the united office or entirety of the church is called "Rectoria" = Rectory.

The emoluments of ancient minsters consisted of "church-shot," "alms-fee," or "plough alms" ; offerings at the high altar, burial dues. None of these were included in the emoluments of the private oratories, which under the name of "churches" were the subject of gifts, consisting of offerings at altars, gifts of produce, of fruits, etc., either large or small tithes, but not the great tithes, although by the 13th century the term "church" is often used to connote the great tithes.

In the 11th and 12th centuries the tithes were always mentioned as distinct from and not as included in the term "church." At the time of the Conquest they were in most places in the hands of laymen.

The early idea of making gifts for ecclesiastical purposes was that they were made to God and the saints for the benefit of the poor and sick, but not specially or primarily for the benefit of the clergy. In the Roman church in later times, revenues were divided into four portions, one for the bishop, one for the clergy, one for repairs of the fabric, one for the poor ; in England the division was usually into three, one for the clergy, and two-thirds for the parson to be expended in charity, a see-due being paid to the bishop.

In early ecclesiastical deeds the following terms frequently occur : Census = head rent to the original owner. Portio = share (of ecclesiastical officers). Pensio = fixed rent charge.

The revenues were once held in shares by the parson and the vicar, and these offices were frequently sub-divided, so that there were often several parsons and several vicars in one place. This subdivision was forbidden by the Third Lateran Council, 1179, which also forbade laymen to hold tithes. In a few places the plurality survived-in every collegiate church the parsonship was held in shares in this way, the cure of souls not belonging to anyone in particular. This led to much neglect and abuse. The tithes were granted in early times by lay benefactors to religious houses, and later they probably also granted praedial tithes of heir lands within the parishes to the parish churches. 


See Black Friars

Fraternity of St. John

Bequest to the fraternity by a member John de Drayton, tailor, 1358 (Ct. H.W. II. 4).

Sharpe says that the tailors of London formed themselves into a guild or fraternity, having St. John the Baptist for its patron saint.


Fraternity of St. Mary atte Bow

Bequest to this fraternity made in 1361 (Ct. H.W. II. 33).

Fraternity of St. Mary de Crichirche

Bequest to the Fraternity, 1379 (Ct. H.W II. 209).

Fraternity of St. Thomas

Bequest to the fraternity of St. Thomas the Martyr at the Conduit of London, 6 Ed. I. (Ct. H.W. I. 29).

Fratres de Penitentia

An order of Friars, called " fratres de Penitencia Jesu Christi," and sometimes "Friars of the Sack," or Penance, because of the sackcloth they wore. A branch of the Franciscans (Newcourt, I. 515).

Stow says they were in England in 1257 (279-80).

First mention: 1259 (Ct. H.W. I. 5).

Their tenements and appurtenances were in "Colcherchstrate" in the parish of St. Olave in the Jewry and in the parish of St. Margaret de Lothebury, as appears from a charter of Queen Alianora, wife of Henry III. , confirming these tenements to them (Cal L. Bk. C. 61).

Their chapel was on the site of a former synagogue of the Jews in Colechurch Street in 1246. This has been located as at the northern end of the Old Jewry.

See Mary (St.), King's Chapel of.

The order was suppressed at the Council of Lyons and licence was granted to the brethren to assign their chapel in "Colemanestre," lately a synagogue of the Jews, to Robert Fitz Walter, 33 Ed. I. 1305 (Cal. P.R. Ed. I. 1301–7, p.317).

Stow says the chapel adjoined Fitz Walter's house, which occupied the site of what was afterwards Grocers' Hall. The site of the chapel in Stow's time was covered by a Tavern with the sign of a Windmill (S. 280).

See Windmill Court, Old Jewry.

Fratres de Penitentia

An order of Friars, called "fratres de Penitencia Jesu Christi," and sometimes "Friars of the Sack," or Penance, because of the sackcloth they wore. A branch of the Franciscans (Newcourt, I. 515).

Stow says they were in England in 1257 (279–80).

First mention : 1259 (Ct. H.W. I. 5).

Their tenements and appurtenances were in "Colcherchstrate" in the parish of St. Olave in the Jewry and in the parish of St. Margaret de Lothebury, as appears from a charter of Queen Alianora, wife of Henry III. , confirming these tenements to them (Cal L. Bk. C. 61).

Their chapel was on the site of a former synagogue of the Jews in Colechurch Street in 1246. This has been located as at the northern end of the Old Jewry.

See King's Chapel of St. Mary.

The order was suppressed at the Council of Lyons and licence was granted to the brethren to assign their chapel in "Colemanestre," lately a synagogue of the Jews, to Robert Fitz Walter, 33 Ed. I. 1305 (Cal. P.R. Ed. I. 1301–7, p. 317).

Stow says the chapel adjoined Fitz Walter's house, which occupied the site of what was afterwards Grocers' Hall. The site of the chapel in Stow's time was covered by a Tavern with the sign of a Windmill (S. 280).

See Windmill Court, Old Jewry.


The friars had several houses in London, and the five orders were all represented there, viz. the Dominicans or Blackfriars ; the Franciscans or Greyfriars ; the Friars of the Holy Cross, Crossed or Crutched Friars ; the Augustinian, or Austin Friars, and the Carmelite or Whitefriars.

The dates of the establishment of their houses in London were as follows : Dominicans or Blackfriars, 1221 ; Franciscans or Greyfriars, 1223-4 ; Carmelite or Whitefriars, 1241 ; Augustinian or Austin Friars, 1253 ; Crossed or Crutched Friars, 1298.

Frequent bequests were made to the friars by the citizens of London in their wills, sometimes to a particular order, sometimes to the five orders, sometimes to the four orders of Friars in London.

In 1539 it was anticipated that the Friars churches would be converted into parish churches (L. and P.H. VIII. XIV. (1), p. 61).

The friars had several houses in London, and the five orders were all represented there, viz. the Dominicans or Blackfriars ; the Franciscans or Greyfriars ; the Friars of the Holy Cross, Crossed or Crutched Friars ; the Augustinian, or Austin Friars, and the Carmelite or Whitefriars.

The dates of the establishment of their houses in London were as follows : Dominicans or Blackfriars, 1221 ; Franciscans or Greyfriars, 1223-4 ; Carmelite or Whitefriars, 1241 ; Augustinian or Austin Friars, 1253 ; Crossed or Crutched Friars, 1298.

Frequent bequests were made to the friars by the citizens of London in their wills, sometimes to a particular order, sometimes to the five orders, sometimes to the four orders of Friars in London.

In 1539 it was anticipated that the Friars churches would be converted into parish churches (L. and P.H. VIII. XIV. (1), p. 61).

The friars had several houses in London, and the five orders were all represented there, viz. the Dominicans or Blackfriars ; the Franciscans or Greyfriars ; the Friars of the Holy Cross, Crossed or Crutched Friars ; the Augustinian, or Austin Friars, and the Carmelite or Whitefriars.

The dates of the establishment of their houses in London were as follows : Dominicans or Blackfriars, 1221 ; Franciscans or Greyfriars, 1223-4 ; Carmelite or Whitefriars, 1241 ; Augustinian or Austin Friars, 1253 ; Crossed or Crutched Friars, 1298.

Frequent bequests were made to the friars by the citizens of London in their wills, sometimes to a particular order, sometimes to the five orders, sometimes to the four orders of Friars in London.

In 1539 it was anticipated that the Friars churches would be converted into parish churches (L. and P.H. VIII. XIV. (1), p. 61).

The friars had several houses in London, and the five orders were all represented there, viz. the Dominicans or Blackfriars ; the Franciscans or Greyfriars ; the Friars of the Holy Cross, Crossed or Crutched Friars ; the Augustinian, or Austin Friars, and the Carmelite or Whitefriars.

The dates of the establishment of their houses in London were as follows : Dominicans or Blackfriars, 1221 ; Franciscans or Greyfriars, 1223-4 ; Carmelite or Whitefriars, 1241 ; Augustinian or Austin Friars, 1253 ; Crossed or Crutched Friars, 1298.

Frequent bequests were made to the friars by the citizens of London in their wills, sometimes to a particular order, sometimes to the five orders, sometimes to the four orders of Friars in London.

In 1539 it was anticipated that the Friars churches would be converted into parish churches (L. and P.H. VIII. XIV. (1), p. 61).


Grey Friars

A house of Franciscan Friars, or Friars Minors, on the north side of Newgate Street, on the site afterwards occupied by Christ's Hospital and Christ Church Newgate Street. In Farringdon Ward Within.

The Frere Menours came first into England in 1224 (Chron. of London (1189-1485), p.11).

Stow tells us that 9 friars came over, 4 coming to London, and five remaining at Canterbury. Lodged for 15 days with the preaching friars in Holborn and then hired a house in Cornhill of John Treners, Sheriff (S. 319).

They increased so rapidly in numbers and popularity that they were removed by the citizens to a place in S. Nicholas Shambles. H. Waleys built the body of the church, Walter Potter, Alderman, the Chapter House, Gregory Rokesley the Dorter, etc. (S. 319).

The quire of the new church was begun in 1306 and built within 21 years. The church was 300 ft. long, 89 ft. broad, 64 ft. high. Consecrated 1325 (S. 320).

In 1397 a grant was made to the Commonalty of a piece of land to the south of the Church 95' 2" long, 8' 4" wide at the "south-west boteras" and 7' 9" wide at the "West boteras," reserving to themselves an "alure" 2 ft. wide with a door to be made by the Mayor and Commonalty (Cal. P.R. 1396-9, p. 88).

Library founded by Richard Whittington, 1429, in length 129 ft., in breadth 31 ft. A conduit head and watercourse were also given to them (S. 320).

The conduit yard is shown in a "Plat of the Greyfriars" in Trans. L. and M. Arch. Soc. V. 421, 1546 and 1617.

Monastery surrendered 1538 (S. 320).

In L. and P. H. VIII. 1543, XVIII. (1), p. 132, a description is given of the site of the late Friars Minors and boundaries indicated of the church of the Friars, London Wall, Northumberland Place, the garden of the Friars, etc., with the watercourse known as "le Conduyte."

In 1547 a grant was made to the mayor and citizens of the church of the Grey Friars, house and site of the Friars, le Fraytrye, le Lybraye, le Dorter, le Chapiter House, le Greate Cloyster, and le Little Cloyster and houses on the north of the Little Cloyster (L. and P. H. VIII. XXI. (2), p. 414).

The Greyfriars' gate into Newgate Street was in existence in 1649-72, a tradesman's token there of that date being mentioned by Burn, p. 96.

Church to be a parish church. See Christ Church.

House of the Grey Fryers repaired 1552 for poor fatherless children (S. 321).

See Christ's Hospital.

The site is now occupied by the new General Post Office buildings.

There is a most interesting survey of the precincts in 1617, with the buildings shown as indicated in a MS. survey of 1546, preserved by the authorities of St. Bartholomew's Hospital and reproduced in Trans. L. and M. Arch. Soc. V. p. 421. The survey shows the exact position of the church, the cloisters and gardens, the bakehouse, brewhouse, etc., with the adjacent streets and buildings, the Wall of London, Newgate, etc. See Plate III.

There is also a good account of the church, etc., in Lond. Topog. Rec. II. p. 29.

London Sanctuaries

The privilege of sanctuary, or refuge, for those who were guilty of manslaughter, etc., was frequently included in the charters of privileges granted to the monastic houses, and in many cases the rights survived within the precincts of these establishments even after the house and its surroundings had been swept away. The most notable were St. Martin's le Grand and St. Mary le Bow Church, but many others survived as late as the 8 and 9 Wm. III., such as White Friars, Salisbury Court, Ram Alley, Mitre Court, Fuller's Rents, Baldwin's Gardens, Montagu Close, Minories, Mint, Clink, Deadman's Place (N. and Q. 11th S. VI. 306 and 372).


See St. Clare Without Aldgate.

Mountjoy, Brethren of

See Montejovis Inn.

Parish Chaplains

Sir William (le Marshall) parson of the church of St. Mary Wolnoth was "pitanciarius" of the community of parish chaplains in the City. Other Rectors of City Churches also described as "pittancers" and "proctors" of the community, 12 Ed. II. (Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 101).

Bequest to each of them, 1350 (Ct. H.W. I. 639).

Parish Clerks

Licensed as a guild in 1233 by the name of the Fraternity of St Nicholas. Dissolved and reincorporated 24 H. VIII. Charter granted Jas. I. 1611.

Printed the weekly Bills of Mortality from 1593.

Played histories from Holy Scripture yearly at Clerkenwell (Chron. of Lond. p. 91, etc.)

Tenements in Bishopsgate granted to them for two Chaplains to be kept in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene, Guildhall, 27 H. VI.

This was suppressed temp. Ed. VI.

They produced an interesting history of the parish churches of London, with lists of streets, etc., in 1732.

Parish Priests

The community of parish priests of London mentioned 1291–2 (Ct H.W. I. 103, and in Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 101).


The ecclesiastical ordinance made by King Edgar and his Witanagemot at Andover, c. 970, was the first step in law taken in England to effect the transition from the old baptismal churches with their districts to the modern parish churches and parishes.

These churches had been originally built and endowed by laymen as oratories, and districts had been attached to them, the size of which was generally determined by the extent of the lands of the lay founder in the neighbourhood, which were intended to receive benefit from the foundation.

The priest was nominated by the lord or patron and received investiture from him, and not from the Bishop, until the 12th century, when this practice was prohibited by the third Lateran Council, 1179–80.

From some of the earlier London records one obtains the impression that the division into parishes was not very strictly carried out in the 10th and 11th centuries. The churches are often referred to as if they were private property served by private chaplains, with no parishes attached to them, and the parish prior to that time had been the bishop's cure of souls, or "administration."

By the middle of the 12th century, however, the notices of parishes become more frequent and lists of parishes are given from time to time in the City records.

The parishes in most cases were independent of the ward boundaries, but their boundaries were probably in many instances determined by the ownership of the land.

The number of parishes has varied somewhat from time to time, as shown in the article on Churches (q.v.), and it is probable that in the 10th or 11th centuries some of the larger parishes were subdivided and additional churches erected to provide for the ever increasing population of the City.


There were thirteen churches in London termed peculiars, as being exempt from the jurisdiction of the bishopric of London and of the Archdeacon, and subject only to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

These thirteen churches were: All Hallows Bread Street; All Hallows Lombard Street; St. Dionis Backchurch; St. Dunstan's in the East; St. John the Evangelist, Friday Street; St. Leonard Eastcheap; St. Mary Aldermary; St. Mary le Bow; St. Mary Bothaw; St. Michael Crookedlane; St Michael Paternoster Royal; St. Pancras, Soper Lane; St. Vedast; Foster Lane.

Similarly certain of the conventual houses, as a special mark of favour, were made exempt from all ecclesiastical jurisdiction except that of the Pope.

These Papal peculiars became Royal peculiars temp. Hen. VIII.

In 4 Ed. VI. all exempt jurisdictions in London, including, amongst others, The Chapel of the Tower, Westminster Abbey, Savoy Chapel, the site of the Minoresses convent, were declared by Royal patent to be parcel of the diocese of London and within the jurisdiction and visitation of the bishop (Rymer's Foedera, XV. 233).

This ordinance, however, never had the force of law.

Within these peculiars : The parishioners appointed their own minister; marriages were solemnised without banns or licence; the inhabitants elected their own magistrates; licensed the publicans; were free from arrest by outside authorities; paid no public taxes unless specially levied on Royal liberties. These rights of sanctuary and similar privileges in London were abolished by Act of Parliament, 1697.

Proprietary Chapels

A list of these is given in N. and Q. 1911, 11th S. III. 149.

St. Anne's Fraternity

There was a fraternity of St. Anne in the church of St. Michael Cornhill, 5 H. IV. (Anc. Deeds, A. 2225).

Bequest by William de Grantham, pepperer, to the Fraternity of St. Anne, 1350–1 (Ct. H.W. I. 648). 

St. Mary atte Bow, Fraternity of

Bequest to this fraternity made in 1361 (Ct. H.W. II. 33).

St. Mary de Crichirche, Fraternity of

Bequest to the Fraternity, 1379 (Ct. H.W II. 209).

St. Paul's Chapels in Old

These were very numerous and consisted of the following: Chapels of Our Lady, of St. Dunstan and St. George, at the east end of the church (Dugdale, 16, 21, 39, 50, and H. MSS. Com. 9th Rep. 27). New fabric of St. Mary's adjoining St. Paul's, 1310 (H. MSS. Com. 9th Rep. 33). The chapel of the Bishop in his house (q.v.). The chapel in Pardon Churchhawe. Chapel of St. James on the south side of the Cross (H. MSS. Com. 9th Rep. 68). Chapel at the north door of St. Paul's, founded by Walter Sherrington temp. H. VI. (S. 330). Chapel of the Holy Ghost on the north side of the church, founded 1400 (ib.). Chapel of St. Ann in the crypt, 45 Ed. III. (H. IMSS. Com. 9th Rep. 27). St. John's Chapel (ib.), perhaps the same as St. John Baptist or Poultney's Chapel mentioned by Stow (338). Chapel of the Holy Trinity on the north side, 1489 (S. 339).

St. Paul's Chapter

"Servientes Capituli" mentioned in 31 Ed. I. (Lib. Cust. I. 230).

Detailed information will be found in Newcourt and in Dugdale.

St. Paul's Prebends

The property belonging to the Chapter set apart for the maintenance of the Prebendaries. A considerable portion of it lay in and round London.

Henry I. gave a charter to the canons granting them relief in respect of their twenty four hides of "sceolanda" from geld, etc. (H. MSS. Com. 9th Rep. 45).

There are some interesting notes as to the property in these prebends and how it was acquired in Lansdowne MS. 364, date 1684.

A list of the prebends is given in MSS. D. and C. St. Paul's, Lib. L. f. 63, 13th cent., and in W.D. 9, fo. 5.

The Prebendaries were thirty in number and their prebends as follows: Brondesbury, Brownswood, Cadington Major, Cadington Minor, Chamberlainwood, Chirwick, Consumpta per Mare, Ealdiand, Ealdstreet, Harlesden, Holborn, Holywell alias Finsbury, Hoxton, Islington, Kentish Town, Mapesbury, Mora, Neasden, Newington, Oxgate, St Pancras, Portpool, Reculverland or Tillingham, Rugmere, Sneating, Tottenhall, Twyford, Wenlakesbarn, Wildiand, Willesden.

The extent and condition of the prebends in 1649 are set out in the Parliamentary Surveys taken at that date, when it was proposed to confiscate the property of the Canons (MS D. and C. St. Paul's), but as the corpus of the prebends lay outside the City boundary they cannot be dealt with in this work.

It may be possible to deal with the property comprised in these prebends in a separate work.

Laws, Courts, Policing, Prisons


These were prisons immediately under the supervision and control of the Sheriffs (Lib. Albus, II. p. 307).

"Counter" is used in the sense of "Court" in Cal. L. Bk. G. p. 678.

The word "Compter" is defined in the N.E.D. as the name of certain prisons for debtors in London and Southwark, and as the prison attached to the mayor's court or the court itself.

Minsheu derives the word from "computare," because whosoever slippeth "in there must be sure to account and pay well too, ere he get out again."

Regulations as to the management of the Countours are set out in Cal. L. Bk. G. p. 566 and Liber Albus, I. 173, 174 et seq., and 522 et seq.

In early times in London records the Compters are designated by the names of the respective Sheriffs who presided over them, and it is probable that in many instances these Compters were in the houses of the Sheriffs, and not in fixed and permanent buildings. See Lib. Albus I. 177 and 178.

Later on the practice of using the Sheriffs' houses seems to have been discontinued, and Stow mentions two Counters in his time, one in the Poultry and one in Wood Street. The Wood Street Counter had been removed there from Bread Street in 1555 (S. 116, 265, 298, 352).

"La Brokenseld" (q.v.) is spoken of as the Counter in Bread Street in 1412.

See Poultry Compter, Bread Street Compter, Wood Street Compter, Giltspur Street Compter. 

Bononiae, Honour of

The court of the Honour of Bononiae appears to have been held at St. Magnus the Martyr (Dugdale, IV. 383).

Manor of Dugworth in Vill of Elmedone held as of the honour of Bovonye by Wm. Furnyvall, 6 Rich. II. (Ch. I. p.m. file 26).

An honour was a number of manors held in one ownership.

= Honour of Boulogne (q.v.).

Boulogne, Honour of

Court of the honour held at St. Martin's le Grand, 2 Ed. I. (Ch. Inq. p.m. file 4 (10)).

See Honour of  Bononiae.


To be rung in London at every parish church at the same hour as at St. Martin le Grand, 1282 (Riley, Mem. 21).

No one allowed to walk about the streets after this hour (ib. 24).

No taverns to be kept open (ib.).


The citizens' court called "le Folkmot" held on "Tota placea terrae" east of St. Paul's Church, where the new burial-ground was and where the great bell-tower of the church was.

Dimensions given 30 ft. by 20 ft. But this would be too small, and it would seem that there must be some confusion about it.

Complaint was made against the Dean and Chapter that they had enclosed this land to the detriment of the citizens 14 Ed. II., and the folkmoot disappeared from history about this time.

Right of the citizens to enter the bell-tower to ring the bell to convene the Folkmot admitted (Lib. Cust. I. 343, and H. MSS. Com. 9th Rep. p. 49). Called "Folkemannemote," 25 H. III. (Lib. Albus, I. 104).

In an extract from the Cotton MSS. relating to Folkmoots and Mootbells it is said that the Folkmoot ought to be held once a year, viz. "in capite Kalendarium Maii." This refers to the whole country, but is it certain that it applied to London? (Lib. Cust. II. 635). In the Lib. Albus, I. 118–19, provision is made for the holding of Folkmoots three times in the year, viz. at Midsummer, Michaelmas and Christmas. Folkmoots compared to Roman "Plebiscita" (ib. 8).

Piepowder Court

A court of record, incident to a fair. Held in Cloth Fair during the continuance of Bartholomew Fair for the regulation of its proceedings (Dodsley, 1761).


Eight enumerated by Strype: "The Gate House" (q.v.), "The Fleet," "Compters of the Poultry and Wood Street," "Ludgate," "The Marshalsea," "King's Bench," "White Lion" (I. 269).

"The Marshalsea" was in Southwark. See "Francheprison."

Many of the City Gates were also used as prisons.


A body of barristers of the highest degree, sworn to serve the King's people in their causes.

The Judges of the High Court, prior to the Judicature Act, 1873, were required to have taken this degree, if they had not already done so.

Of high antiquity, mentioned as existing in the statute of Westminster. See Serjeants' Inn.


Old English "scir-gerefa" = an officer appointed in Saxon times to administer justice within the shire or county.

London has two sheriffs, elected annually by the livery men of the City. Frequent references to their elections occur in the City records, as well as to the maintenance of their authority within the City against the King's officers.

Jurisdiction distinct from that of the Sheriffs of Middlesex.

In 1308 the King directed a writ to the Sheriff of Middlesex as to the right of Master Wm. de Ewelle, Canon of St. Paul's, to a tenement in the parish of St. Giles without Crepelgate. But the Sheriff returned answer that he could not execute the writ, as it was not within his bailiwick, but within the precinct of the liberty of the City of London (Cal. L. Bk. C. p. 160–1).

In 1227 the King granted to the citizens of London the Sheriffdom of London and Middlesex on payment of 300 marks yearly at the Exchequer (Cal. Ch. Rolls, H. III. I. 1226–57, p. 137).

In 1236 the Sheriffs of London and the Sheriff of Middlesex appear as separate witnesses to a deed (Anc. Deeds, B. 2376). They are again mentioned separately in 1283 (Cal. L. Bk. A. p. 75).

In 1321–2 the writ to the Sheriff of Middlesex is in the same terms as that addressed to the Sheriffs of London, Is Ed. II. (Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 163).

The two offices do not seem to have been directly separated until the Local Government Act, 1888.

In 1291, at the Sheriff's Court, allusion is made to the four benches of the Court, for whom assessors appeared in the Court.

The Sheriffs had jurisdiction over the Compters, or prisons, which in early times were often in the Sheriff's houses.

See Compters.

The precincts and privileged places in the City were exempt from their jurisdiction down to the end of the 17th century.

Payments, Taxes, Rents


Measurer of cloth by the "aulne" (Latin "ulna") or ell for the purpose of collecting the "aulnage" (or duty per ell) paid to the King on all cloths sold, 1315 (Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 53). Office abolished 11 and 12 Wm. III.


Collected the rents of the City and the customs, for which he had to account at the Exchequer, together with duties on tonnage, etc. Elected by the Common Council.

At one period in the City there appear to have been two Chamberlains—one styled "Chamberlain of Our Lord the King," the other "Chamberlain of the Guildhall."

Riley says that in 1275 the Mayor united in his person the offices of Chamberlain and Coroner of the City (Mem. p. 3).

The office of Chamberlain was in existence at a very early period, William the Chamberlain is mentioned in the Domesday Book, as holding property in the suburbs of the City in Holeburn, and it is thought that the "Chamberlain Gate" may have been named after him.

The Chamberlain's Oath is set out in Liber Albus, I. 309.


Payments of corn, etc., bound on certain land called Le Grenes C...and "Colemannes" London, 17 Ed. II. (Anc. Deeds, C. 3202).

Not further identified.


The fifteens or fifteenth, as it is generally called, was originally an imperial tax levied throughout the kingdom for various purposes, as wars and such like.

It was a tax of one-fifteenth on movables of all kinds, and was of a similar nature to the tenths, thirteenths, fortieths, etc., which were so frequently levied during the 13th and 14th centuries.

It appears to have been levied by a careful valuation and assessment of the movable goods of each citizen in a city or township, whether clothes, jewellery, furniture, cattle, only certain specified goods being excepted, while the poorest citizens were in many instances exempt.

About the year 1334 the practice grew up of allowing the communities of cities and boroughs to treat with the royal commissioners appointed to assess and collect the tax and to agree upon a fine or sum to be paid as a composition for the fifteenth, tenth, etc., and the sum thus agreed upon was to be entered on the rolls as the assessment to the tax of that particular city or borough. Thus it came about that when a fifteenth was levied in subsequent years, no fresh assessment had to be made, and it was understood that the sum previously agreed upon would form the amount of the city's contribution. Thus the fifteenth came to be a convenient and well-understood unit of taxation.

The Letter Books of the City of London contain frequent references to the fifteens and we find the Mayor and Commonalty compounding with the royal commissioners in this way, and offering to pay £2000 or £3000, or whatever the sum might be that they thought would be acceptable as their contribution.

It is very interesting to compare the figures of different years. In the 8 Ed. II. there was a levy in the City of 1000 marks, and everyone assessed to the last fifteenth granted to the King to pay one mark in every £1 assessed and so more or less according as each was taxed in the said fifteenth (Cal. L. Bk. D. p. 307).

A careful comparison of the assessments of the various wards for fifteenths or fractions of fifteenths, etc., will show that in many instances the assessment of the wards remained unaltered from about the middle of the 14th century to the end of the 16th century, and each ward continued to contribute the amount at which it had been assessed originally, which was regarded as its fair proportion of the City's contribution (Cal. L. Bk. F. 3, 4).

In some of the later assessments, as set out in the Letter Books, it is to be noted that the totals contributed by certain wards do not correspond with the totals of these earlier assessments, whilst in others the totals are identical, and the same discrepancies are to be noticed in the figures of Stow's assessments as compared with those in the Letter Books.

Though in its origin an imperial tax, it is evident that in later times the City made use of the tax for its own purposes, as a convenient and easy method of raising a specified sum, for repair of walls, ditches, etc., and that a fifteen levied by the Mayor and Aldermen on the city was similar in amount to the same tax for imperial purposes.

The last fifteen was levied in 1624.

King's Beam, the

Used for weighing heavy goods, "avoirs du pois" (Cal. L. Bk. A. p. 191), in contradistinction to the small beam for weighing light goods.

Foreign merchants were, by the customs of the City, bound to weigh their heavy goods at the King's beam or balance, and in 1269, it being discovered that they were evading this regulation and making use of their own balances, the enactment was enforced against them by fine and imprisonment (Lib. de Ant. Leg. p. 118).

In 1285 it was ordained that the King should have his weights in different places in the City and that goods over 25 lbs. in weight should be weighed there (Lib. Albus I. 285).

Further enactments, regulating the procedure to be observed, were made in 1305 and 1309 (Cal. L. Bk. C. p. 127, and D. p. 209).

The Great Beam was let out to ferm in the same way as the Small Beam (ib. G. p. 204).

See The Weigh House, Eastcheap.



Small Beam, the

Used for weighing small goods, those dealt in by the pound weight. It belonged to the Chamber of the City, and was let out by the citizens to ferm. at an annual rent, 1291 (Cal. L. Bk. B. p. 55, 1299–1300) (ib. C. p. 56).

In 1310 it was let out to Richard de Redynge at the King's request, but in 1313 he made complaint that the receipts had fallen off and that people would not bring woven and dyed silks to be weighed (Cal. L. Bk. D. p. 227).

The small beam or balance was remade in 1344, and new provisions enacted as to the method of weighing, etc. (ib. F. p. 113).

See The Weigh House, Eastcheap. 


Plough service, a tenure inferior to tenure by knight service. In London in later times it seems to have been a payment arising out of a tenement or holding in a soke, due to the owner in respect of such holding.

There are references to such payments in the Ancient Deeds and other London records.


Seems to have been the officer of the soke.

Gilbert the Moneyer is described as "socnere" of the Bishop of London in a grant of rent from land in the parish of St. Botolph, Bissopesgate (Anc. Deeds, A. 1623).

The usual term would be "sokerevus."


After the statute of Quia Emptores, the grantee held of the grantor, who continued to be responsible to the Crown for services charged on the estate. The grantor therefore usually retained some interest in it, a claim for suit or service from the purchaser, or the payment of a quarter or more of the estimated value of the property. This head or fee-farm rent was called "census" or sometimes chief-rent, "capitalis redditus."


Fourpence to be taken in each pound of the twelfth according to the manner of the first assessment made by neighbours, which twelfth was granted to King Edward II. at York in the 13th of his reign (Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 115).

The twelfth was a common subsidy in early times. See Fifteenth.