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Ancient Inns of Southwark.
By George R. Corner, Esq., F.S.A.
Read at the General Meeting held in Southwark, 12th May, 1858.
"Shall I not take my ease in mine Inn?" - Henry IV., Part 1, act 3, sc. 3.
The borough of Southwark, more especially the High street, having for so many ages been the only entrance into London from Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, and the chief road to and from France, and the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket at Canterbury, to which, in times before the Reformation, pilgrims resorted by thousands every year, it is not surprising that the Borough became celebrated for its inns, which, from the accommodation they afforded to travellers, brought no inconsiderable profit to the inhabitants of this part of the metropolis.
Honest John Stow, in his "Survey of London" (first published in 1598), says: "From thence (the Marshalsea) towards London-bridge, on the same side, be many fair inns for receipt of travellers, by these signs:—the Spurre, Christopher, Bull, Queen's Head, Tabard, George, Hart, King's Head, &c."
Of these inns mentioned by the old chronicler, the Spur, the Queen's Head, the Tabard (now called the Talbot), the George, the White Hart, and the King's Head still exist as inns for travellers; and it is of three of those hostelries, and of a few others in this borough, that I propose to give some account: and first, as the most celebrated, although not now maintaining its ancient character, I will tell you what I have been able to collect about
The Tabard Inn, Southwark.
So much has been written of this celebrated hostelry, that the subject may be supposed to have been exhausted, and it may be considered presumptuous to attempt to tell anything, not already known, of the inn renowned in Chaucer's verse, as the place where he and the nine-and-twenty pilgrims met, and agreed to enliven their pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket at Canterbury, by reciting tales to shorten the way. Nevertheless, the subject is so interesting, that a collection of facts relating to "The Tabard" and its jovial host, whom Chaucer represents as not only merry himself, but the cause of mirth in others, may not be unacceptable; especially as some few particulars, not yet in print, have been discovered, and will add something to the general interest of the subject.
The date of the Canterbury Pilgrimage is generally supposed to have been the year 1383; and Chaucer, after describing the season of Spring, says :—
"Befelle, that in that seson, on a day,
In Southwerk, at the Tabard as I lay,
Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury, with devoute corage,
At night was come into that hostelrie
Well nine-and-twenty in a compagnie
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felawship; and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward Canterbury wolden ride.
The chambres and the stables weren wide,
And wel we weren esed atte beste,
And shortly, whan the sonne was gon to reste,
So hadde I spoken with hem everich on
That I was of hir felawship anon,
And made forword erly for to rise,
To take oure way ther as I you devise."
Lines 19 to 29.
"The Tabard" is again mentioned in the following lines:—
"In Southwerk at this gentil hostelrie,
That highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle."
Lines 720, 721.
"The Tabard " was the property of the Abbot of Hyde, near Winchester, who had his town residence within the inn-yard; and the earliest record that I have heen able to meet with relating to the property is in the 33rd Edward I., A.D. 1304 when the Abbot and Convent of Hyde purchased of William de Lategareshall two houses in Southwark, held of the Archbishop of Canterbury, by the annual rent of 5s. \\d., and suit to his court in Southwark, and Id. a year for a purpresture of one foot wide on the king's highway; £4 per annum to John de Tymberhuth, and 3s. to the prior and convent of St. Mary Overie, in Southwark. Value clear, 40s.2
On the 6th August, 1307, the Abbot of Hyde had a licence from the Bishop of Winchester for a chapel at his hospitium, in the parish of St. Margaret, Southwark.8
1 Two tenements will appear to have been conveyed by William de Ludegarsale to the Abbot, &c, de Hida juxta Winton in 1306, and which are described in a former conveyance, therein recited, as extending in length "a communi fossato de Suthwerke versus orientem, usque Regiam viam de Suthwerke versus occidentem."—Registrant, de Hyde, MS. Harl. 1761, fo. 166—173.
2 Esc.' 33 Ed. I. n. 227; 34 Ed. I. n. 127.
3 Register Winton, 64a.
The jovial host of "The Tabard," who proposed that each of the pilgrims should tell a tale on the journey to Canterbury, is thus described by Chaucer:—
"A semely man our hoste was with alle,
For to ban ben a marshal in an halle;
A large man he was, with eyen stope,
A fairer burgeis is ther non in Chepe;
Bold of his speche, and wise and wel ytaught,
And of manhood him lacked righte naught.
Eke therto was he right a mery man."
Lines 753 to 759.
And we have the host's name in the Prologue to the Cook's Tale, to whom
"Our hoste answerd, and sayde, 'I grant it thee:
Now tell on, Roger, and loke that it be good,
For many a pastee hast thou letten blood,
And many a jacke of Dover hast thou sold,
That hath been twies hot and twies cold.
Now tell on, gentil Roger, by thy name,
But yet, I pray thee, be not wroth for game;
A man may say ful soth in game and play.'
'Thou sayst ful soth,' quod Roger, 'by my fay;
But soth play quade spel, as the Fleming saith:
And therfore, Herry Bailly, by thy faith
Be thou not wroth, or we departen here,
Though that my tale be of an hostelere.'"
Lines 4342 to 4358.
Henry Bailly, the host of "The Tabard," was not improbably a descendant of Henry Fitz Martin, of the borough of Southwark, to whom King Henry III., by letters-patent dated 30th September in the 50th year of his reign, at the instance of William de la Zouch, granted the customs of the town of Southwark during the king's pleasure, he paying to the exchequer the annual fee-farm rent of £10 for the same.
By that grant Henry Fitz Martin was constituted bailiff of Southwark, and he would thereby acquire the name of Henry the Bailiff, or le Bailly.
But be this as it may, it is a fact, on record, that Henry Bailly, the hosteller of "The Tabard," was one of the burgesses who represented the borough of Southwark, in the parliament held at Westminster, in the 50th Edward III., A.D. 1376; and he was again returned to the parliament held at Gloucester, in the 2nd Richard II., A.D. 1378.
We cannot read Chaucer's description of the host without acknowledging the likelihood of his being a popular man among his fellow-townsmen, and one likely to be selected for his fitness to represent them in parliament. His identity is further corroborated by the following extract from the Subsidy Boll of 4th Richard II., 1380, dorso,—
Henr' Bayliff, Ostyler, Xpian, Ux\ eius ijs.
from which record it appears that Henry Bayliff, hosteller, and Christian his wife, were assessed to the subsidy at two shillings.
Of the wife of our host, Chaucer has given us a very unfavourable character, in the words of her lord; unless they are to be understood as said in jest, rather than in sober truth; for after the Merchant's tale, which is of a bad wife, he makes the host to say,—
"I have a wif, though that she poure be;
But of hire tonge a labbing shrewe is she;
And yet she hath an hepe of vices mo,
Therof no force; let all swiche thinges go.
But wete ye what? in counseil be it seyde,
Me reweth sore I am unto hire teyde;
For and I shulde rekene every vice,
Which that she hath, ywis I were to nice;
And cause why, it shulde reported be
And told to hire of som of this compagnie,
(Of whom it needeth not for to declare,
Sin women connen utter swiche chaffare;)
And eke my wit sufficeth not thereto
To tellen all; wherfore my tale is do."
Lines 10,301 to 10,314.
On the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of King Henry VIII., "The Tabard Inn," with the Abbot of Hyde's house in Southwark, were surrendered by John Salcote, or Saltcote, alias Capon, the last abbot, to the king, in April, 1538, and in 1544 were granted by the king to John Master and Thomas Master. The following is the description of the property in the particulars for the grant:—
"Item certain houses in Southwarke, whereof one called 'The Taberd,' parcel of the possessions of the late monastery of Hide, in the county of Southampton, by year, as appeareth by the particular is £22. 16s. 8c?., which, rated at eight years' purchase, doth amount to the sum of £182. 13s. 4d.
"Memd'. the king must discharge the buyer of one annuity of 26s. 8d., going out of the said houses in Southwark, to one Bauff Copwood."
"The farm of one house at London, in Southwark aforesaid, within the hostlery called ' The Taberd,' lying on the outer part thereof, called the Abbot's Place, and one stable, called the Abbot's Stable, with the garden belonging to the said place, called the Abbot's Place, which said garden lies on the west part, abutting upon a small rough place or dung-place leading from 'The Taberd' aforesaid to the ditch which goes from the Thames, called • le Temmes;' and on the north part the said garden abuts on divers small gardens adjoining to the outer part of the sign of • St. George,' in Southwark aforesaid, demised to John Crayford, clerk, by indenture dated the 27th of October, 29th Henry VIII., for a term of four-score and ten years, paying, therefore, at the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, 20 shillings per annum, clear.
"The said house, and other the premises lying in Southwark, within the suburbs of the City of London, and builded within the sign of 'The Taberd,' is in distance from the King His Majesty's house, and park, in Southwark aforesaid, one arrow-shot, and from his grace's Palace of Westminster, and his highness' house, and park of St. James's in the Pyld one mile and more; all which premises were reserved to the late abbot and convent of the aforesaid late monastery of Hide, now demised as above is mentioned.
"The rent or farm of all that messuage or tenement situate, lying, and being on the north part of the messuage, or hostel, called ' The Taberd,' in Southwark aforesaid, with the chambers above the gate of the said 'Taberd,' with the garden and the appurtenances to the same messuage or tenement belonging, demised to Mathew Screville and Oliver Eogerson, and their assigns, by indenture dated 4th November, 30th Henry VIII., for the term of thirty-one years, paying at Christmas-day, Lady-day, Midsummer, and Michaelmas, 53s. 4id., the lessees keeping the premises in repair.
"The rent or farm of three messuages or tenements, and three gardens to the same belonging, situate, lying, and being together, within the parish of St. Margaret, Southwark, demised to Ralph Copwod and Joan his wife, and their assigns, by indenture dated 16th August, 29th Henry VIII., for the term of thirty-one years, at the rent of £6.; the lessees covenanting to keep the premises in repair, and maintaining the pavement in the street before the said three messuages, as well with stones as all other necessaries.
"The rent or farm of two messuages, or tenements, with two gardens and their appurtenances in Southwark, situate, lying, and being within the said parish, on the east part of the churchyard of the same parish, and on the south part of a messuage or hostlery called 'The Tabbard,' demised to Rowland Lathum, his executors and assigns, by indenture dated 15th May, 29th Henry VIII., for the term of 41 years, at the rent of £4.
"The rent or farm of one garden in Southwark, late in the tenure of William Miller, formerly of John Crosse, at the will of the lord, paying per annum 3s. 4id.
"The fee of Ralph Copwood, collector of the rents of all the lands and tenements within the borough of Southwark aforesaid, by writing of the late abbot and convent of the said monastery, under their seal, dated 5th August, 30th Henry VIII.
"The farm or rent of all that messuage or hostel, called 'The Taberd,' with the appurtenances, situate, lying, and being in the parish of Saint Margaret, Southwark, wherein one Robert Patty late dwelt, together with certain utensils and household stuff, as expressed in a certain schedule annexed. Except and reserved to the late Bishop Comendator and his successors and assigns a certain messuage called the Abbot's Place, and one garden and stable called the Abbot's Stable, situate and being within the messuage or hostel called 'The Tabard,' demised to William Rutter and his assigns, by indenture under seal of the Bishop Comendator and convent of the said late monastery, dated 5th September, 30th Henry VIII., for the term of 41 years, at the rent of £9, confirmed by the Court of Augmentations, in Easter term, viz. 1st April, 31st Henry VIII."
The Bishop Comendator was John Salcote, Sulcot, or Saltcoat (Saultcot on his seal, engraved in the Monasticon), alias Capon, D.D., of the university of Cambridge, who was translated to Hyde Abbey from the Abbey of Hulm in Norfolk, in 1529: he was the last abbot of Hyde, and as a reward for having been instrumental in engaging his own university to comply with the King's divorce, he was promoted, 19th April, 1534, to the bishopric of Bangor, which he obtained leave to hold in commendam with this abbacy; and for his good services at the dissolution of the monasteries, and readily yielding up his monastery to the king's visitors, in April, 1538, and procuring his monks, twenty-one in number, to join with him in the surrender, he was furthermore preferred, July 31st, 1539, to the bishopric of Salisbury, which he held for eighteen years, where deceasing, 6th October, 1557, he was buried in that cathedral.4
As regards the name of the inn, Stow says of "The Tabard,"—" That it was so called of a jacket or sleeveless coat, whole before, open on both sides, with a square collar, winged at the shoulders: a stately garment of old time, commonly worn of noblemen and others, both at home and abroad in the wars; but then (to wit, in the wars) their arms embroidered or otherwise depict upon them, that every man, by his coat of arms, might be known from others. But now these tabards are only worn by the heralds, and be called their coats of arms in service."
4 See a memoir of him in Cooper's "Athenae Cantabrigienses," vol. 1. p. 171.
Mr. Speght, in his edition of Chaucer (1602), after giving a similar account of the meaning of the word tabard, goes on to speak of the inn so called, as "the inn in Southwark, by London, within the which was the lodging of the Abbot of Hyde, by Winchester. This," he says, "was the hostelry where Chaucer and the other pilgrims met together, and with Henry Baily, their host, accorded about the manner of their journey to Canterbury; and whereas through time it hath been much decayed, it is now by Master J. Preston, with the abbot's house thereto adjoined, newly repaired, and with convenient rooms much increased for the receipt of many guests."
From this notice by Mr. Speght we learn that the original "Tabard" was standing in 1602. It was an ancient timber house, probably as old as "Chaucer's time," and there is a view of it in Urry's edition of Chaucer, which was reproduced in 1833, in vol. xxii. of "The Mirror."6
"The Tabard" was burnt in the great fire of Southwark which happened in 1676, of which fire I will say more in my account of "The George Inn," because, having but little to say about the inn itself, I shall have more space to tell you what I know about the fire, which destroyed that inn as well as "The Tabard," and great part of Southwark.
"The Tabard" was within the old parish of St. Margaret (now part of St. Saviour's), Southwark. Aubrey, the historian of Surrey, in 1719 says: "The ignorant landlord or tenant, instead of the ancient sign of 'The Tabard,' put up 'The Talbot,' a species of dog, and on the frieze of the beam supporting the sign was this
5 A valuable periodical magazine of literature, art, antiquities, and general information, edited by my friend Mr. J. Timbs, author of "Curiosities of London," "Things not Generally Known," and other estimable works (and who is a native of Southwark).
St. Thomas's Hospital, then recently erected; and in commemoration of the event, there is a tablet placed on the great staircase, over the door of the hall or court room, with the following inscription:—
"Upon the 26th of May, 1676, and in the 28th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King Charles the Second, about three of the clock in the morning, over against St. Margaret's Hill, in the Borough of Southwark, there happened a most dreadful and lamentable fire, which, before ten of the clock at night, consumed about five hundred houses. But in the midst of judgment God remembered mercy, and by his goodness in considering the poor and distressed, put a stop to the fire at this home, after it had been touched several times therewith, by which, in all probability, all this side of the Borough was preserved. This tablet is here put, that whoso readeth it may give thanks to the Almighty God, to whom alone is due the honour and praise. Amen."
Although the present building of "The George Inn" is not older than the end of the seventeenth century, it seems to have been rebuilt, after the fire, upon the old plan, and it still preserves the character of the ancient English inns, having open wooden galleries leading to the chambers on each side of the inn yard.
In the year 1739, "The George Inn" was the property of Thomas Aynescomb, Esq., of Charterhouse Square, whose will is dated 11th May, in that year, from whom it descended to his grand-daughter, Valentina Aynescomb, who married Lillie Smith, Esq.
In 30th George II., an Act of Parliament was passed for vesting the settled estates of Lillie Smith, Esq., and Valentina, his wife, in trustees, to be sold. And in 1785, "The George Inn," with considerable other property, was sold and conveyedjto Lillie Smith Aynescomb, Esq., of Thames Street, London, merchant; and within a few years past, it has been purchased by the trustees of Guy's Hospital, to which it adjoins.
In the conveyance of 1785, the inn is described as having been formerly in the occupation of Mary Wayland (probably widow of Mark Wayland, who was the host in 1676), afterwards of William. Golding; and then of Thomas Green, who, in 1809, was succeeded by his niece, Erances, and her husband, Westerman Scholefield; since whose death "The George" has been, and is still, kept by his widow, Mrs. Prances Scholefield, now above eighty years of age.7
The White Hart is one of the inns mentioned by Stow, but it possesses a still earlier celebrity, having been the head-quarters of Jack Cade, and his rebel rout, during their brief possession of London, in the year 1450; when Henry VI. was king. And it has been immortalized by Shakespeare, in the Second Part of his play of King Henry VI., when a messenger enters in haste, and announces to the king :—
"The rebels are in Southwark. Fly, my lord!
Jack Cade proclaims himself Lord Mortimer,
Descended from the duke of Clarence' house;
And calls your grace usurper, openly,
And vows to crown himself in Westminster."
And, again, another messenger enters and says:—
"Jack Cade hath gotten London-bridge;
The citizens fly and forsake their houses."
Jack Cade afterwards thus addresses his followers:—
"And you, base peasants, do ye believe him 1 Will you needs be hanged with your pardons about your necks? Hath my sword therefore broke through London gates, that ye should leave me at the White Hart in Southwark?"—Shakespeare's Henry VI., Part Second, act iv. scenes 4 and 8.
Cade entered London from Blackheath, through the
7 She died in 1859.
Borough; and towards evening he retired to "The White Hart," in Southwark. He continued there for some days, entering the city in the morning, and returning to Southwark at night; hut at last, his followers committing some riot in the city, when they would have entered they found the bridge gate shut against them; whereupon a battle ensued between them and the citizens, which lasted all day, and ended, at the approach of night, by a cessation of arms till the morrow; but during the night a proclamation of pardon, which was published in the Borough, induced the great body of Cade's followers to desert him, and he was obliged to fly, and endeavour to conceal himself in Sussex; where he was soon afterwards slain by Alexander Iden, at Hothfleld.
There is a contemporary account of some of Cade's doings in Southwark, in a letter to John Paston, Esq., from J. Payne, servant to Sir John Pastolf, who was sent by his master from his house in Horselydown to the rebels' camp at Blackheath, to obtain the articles of their demands; and Payne, being taken by the rebels, was about to be beheaded, but his life was spared on the intercession - of Robert Poynings, Esq. (of Southwark, who was engaged in the rebellion, and is mentioned as having been carver and chief doer for Cade), and Payne was sent back to Southwark, to array himself, under a promise to return to the rebels. On returning home, he counselled his master, Sir John Pastolf, to send away the soldiers and munitions of war, which he had provided for the defence of his house at Horselydown; which he did, and went with his men to the Tower. Payne was seized, and taken before Cade at "The White Hart," who ordered him to be despoiled of his array; and he seems to have lost all that he had; and they would have smitten off his head, but Poynings again saved his life, and he (Payne) says: "I was put up till at night that the battle was at London Bridge [8th July, as the historians have it; but by a note in one of the Paston letters, Cade fled on the 22nd June from Blackheath] and then at night the Captain put me out into the battle at the bridge, and there I was wounded and hurt near unto death, and there I was six hours in the battle, and might never come out thereof."
The "Chronicle of the Grey Priars" (one of the publications of the Camden Society) records another deed of violence committed by Cade and his followers at this place.
"At the Whyt Harte in Southwarke, one Hawaydyne, of Sent Martyns, was beheddyd."—Chron. of Grey Friars, p. 19.
The "White Hart" as now existing, is not the same building that afforded quarters to Jack Cade; for in 1669 the back part of the old inn was accidentally burnt down, and the inn was wholly destroyed by the great fire which happened in Southwark in 1676.
The records of the Court of Judicature inform us that John Collett, Esq., was then the owner of the property, and Robert Taynton, executor of was the tenant.
"The White Hart" appears, however, to have been rebuilt upon the model of the older edifice, and still realizes the descriptions which we read of the ancient inns, consisting of one or more open courts or yards, surrounded with open galleries, and which were frequently used as temporary theatres, for acting plays and dramatic performances in the olden time.
A popular writer of the present day, in one of his earliest productions, has given us a capital description of the Borough inns, and of "The White Hart" in particular, and I hope my readers will not quarrel with me for recalling to their recollection "The Pickwick Papers," and their old acquaintance Samuel Weller.
"In the Borough especially (says Mr. Dickens) there still remain some half-dozen old inns, which have preserved their external features unchanged, and which have escaped alike the rage for public improvement and the encroachments of private speculation. Great, rambling, queer old places they are, with galleries, and passages, and staircases, wide enough and antiquated enough to furnish materials for a hundred ghost stories It was in the yard of one of these inns—of no less
celebrated a one than 'The White Hart'—that a man was busily employed in brushing the dirt off a pair of boots, early on the morning succeeding the events narrated in the last chapter. He was habited in a coarse striped waistcoat, with black calico sleeves and blue glass buttons, drab breeches, and leggings. A bright-red handerchief was wound in a very loose and unstudied style round his neck, and an old white hat was carelessly thrown on one side of his head The yard presented none of that bustle and activity which are the usual characteristics of a large coach inn. Three or four lumbering waggons, each with a pile of goods beneath its ample canopy, about the height of the second floor window of an ordinary house, were stowed away beneath a lofty roof, which extended over one end of the yard; and another, which was probably to commence its journey that morning, was drawn out into the open space. A double tier of bedroom galleries, with old clumsy balustrades, ran round two sides of the straggling area, and a double row of bells to correspond, sheltered from the weather by a little sloping roof, hung over the door leading to the bar and coffee-room. Two or three gigs and chaise carts were wheeled up under different little sheds and penthouses; and the occasional heavy tread of a cart-horse, or rattling of a chain at the further end of the yard, announced to anybody who cared about the matter, that the stable lay in that direction. When we add that a few boys in smock-frocks were lying asleep on heavy packages, woolpacks, and other articles that were scattered about on heaps of straw, we have described, as fully as need be, the general appearance of the yard of 'The White Hart Inn,' High Street, Borough, on the particular morning in question."
A pictorial representation of " The White Hart Inn" yard illustrates this scene from " The Pickwick Papers," chapter 10.
The Boar's Head.
Southwark had its "Boar's Head" as well as Eastcheap, and it is singular that the latter has heen rendered famous by our Immortal Bard, as one of the scenes of the revelries of Prince Hal, and his fat friend, Sir John Palstaff; and that the former was the property of Sir John Pastolf, of Caistor Castle, in Norfolk, who also had a large house in Stoney Lane, in St. Olave's, Southwark, and who died in 1460, possessed, among other estates in Southwark, of one messuage in the parish of St. Mary Magdalen (now part of St. Saviour's), in Southwark, called "The Boreshead."8
Mr. Chalmers, in his "History of Oxford," says: "It is ascertained that 'The Boar's Head' in Southwark, then divided into tenements, and Caldecott manor in Suffolk, were part of the benefactions of Sir John Pastolf, Knt, to Magdalen College, Oxford."
Henry Wyndesore, in a letter to John Paston, dated in August, 1459, says: "And it please you to remember my master (Sir John Pastolf) at your best leisure, whether his old promise shall stand as touching my preferring to 'The Boar's Head,' in Southwark. Sir, I would have been at another place, and of my master's own motion he said that I should set up in 'The Boar's Head.'"
Boar's Head Court was situate on the east side of the High Street, and north of St. Thomas's Hospital, opposite St. Saviour's Church; and that court was I doubt not the site of the old "Boar's Head Inn."
In the churchwardens' accounts of St. Olave, Southwark, in 1614-15, I find this house mentioned thus:
8 Inquisitiones post Mortem, 38 & 39 Henry VI., No. 48.
"Received of John Barlowe, that dwelleth at Ye Boar's Head, in Southwark, for suffering the encroachment at the corner of the wall in ye Flemish church yard, p' one yeare, iiiis."
Mr. Halliwell presented to " The British Archaeological Association" a rare small brass token. In the centre of the obverse is a boar's head (lemon in mouth), and around it—"at The Bore's Head;" on the reverse -"in Southwark, 1649;" in the field, "WBM."
There is a similar token in the Beaufoy collection of tradesmen's tokens, at Guildhall Library; and Mr. Burn, in his valuable catalogue of those tokens, refers to the letter of Henry Wyndesore, and to the note from Chalmers. The house in High Street, at the corner of Boar's Head Court, and those in the court, were formerly on lease to the father of JohnTimbs, Esq., E.S.A., author of " Curiosities of London," &c.
The site of this house is now part of the front of St. Thomas's Hospital.
The Bear at the Bridge-foot was a noted house of entertainment during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries; and it remained until the houses on old London Bridge were pulled down, in or about the year 1760.
This house was situate in the parish of St. Olave, Southwark, on the west side of the High Street, and between Pepper Alley and the foot of the bridge.9
9 This was properly within the city of London, and formed part of Bridge Ward Within, which extended all over the bridge, and included the gate at the south end of the bridge, and some houses on each side of the way, in the parish of Saint Olave, Southwark, as far as the stulpes (wooden posts), which marked the extent of the barrier, or outer fortification of the bridge gate.
For the earliest notice of "The Bear" at the bridgefoot, as well as for some others of which I have availed myself, I am indebted to the notes of Mr. Jacob HenryBurn to his Catalogue of the London traders', tavern, and coffee-house tokens current in the seventeenth century, presented to the library of the corporation of London by Henry Benjamin Handbury Beaufoy, Esq. Mr. Burn tells us that "The Bear" at bridge-foot was a house of considerable antiquity, and that among the disbursements for Sir John Howard, in the steward's accounts, yet extant, are noticed—
Mar. 6, 1463-4. Item, payd for red wyn at the Bere
in Sowthewerke... ... ... ... ... ... iijJ.
March 14th (same year). Item, payd at dyner at the
Bere in Sowthewerke, in costys ... ... ... iijs. iiijrf.
Item, that my Masytr lost at shotynge ... ... ... s.xd.
The next mention I have found of "The Bear" is in a deed in my own possession, dated 12th December, 1554, in the first and second years of Philip and Mary, whereby Edmonde Wythipolle, of Gwypiswiche (Ipswich), gentleman, conveyed to Henry Leke, of Suthwerk, berebruer, (with other premises) the yearly quit rent of two shillings, going out of a tenement, being a tavern, called "The Beare" in Southwark aforesaid, and in the parish of St. Oleef (St. Olave); and another deed of the same date, to the like effect, is witnessed by Roger Hyepy, who, I find by the parish books, was at that time landlord of "The Bear," which was a house much frequented by the inhabitants of Southwark. It is frequently mentioned in the accounts of the churchwardens of St. Olave's, for instance—
1568 to 1570.
Itm for iiij Dinners at the Visitations, whereof
one at the church hows and three at the Beare viijli. xiijs.
Itin, p'd for drinkinge at ye Eeare, wh Mr.
Norryes, pson, and certaine of the Auncients
of the pishe ... ... ... ... ... ixs. iiije/. ob.
Itm, p'd another tyme at the same place for the
lyke drynkynge ... ... ... ... vs. viijc?.
There are extant two tradesmen's tokens of the seventeenth century, issued by occupiers of "The Bear." One has on the obverse a bear with a chain, and the inscription—" Abraham Browne at ye;" and on the reverse—" Bridg Foot, Southwark ;" in the centre— "His Halfpeny." And the other has on the obverse a bear passant with collar and chain, and the inscription "Cornelius Cooke at the;" reverse—" Beare at the Bridgefot;" in the centre—" C.A.C."10
Cornelius Cooke was a man of some note in his time; I find him mentioned in the parish accounts of St. Olave's, as overseer of the land side, as early as 1630. He afterwards became a soldier, and was a captain of the trained bands. He rose to the rank of colonel in Cromwell's army, and was appointed one of the commissioners for sale of the king's lands.
After the restoration of King Charles II. he seems to have settled down among his old friends in St. Olave's, as landlord of "The Bear" at the bridge-foot, where he doubtless frequently fought o'er his fields again, and told his tales of the civil wars.
Gerrard, in a letter to Lord Strafford (printed among the Strafford papers), January, 1633, intimates that all back doors to taverns on the Thames are commanded to be shut up, only the Bear at the bridge-foot is exempted, by reason of the passage to Greenwich.12
10 Manning and Bray's Surrey, vol. iii., Appendix, p. cxiii. Akerman's Tradesmen's Tokens.
11 Akerman's Tradesmens Tokens. Burn's Catalogue of Beaufoy Collection. 12 Burn's Catalogue, p. 46 n.
The cavaliers' ballad on the magnificent funeral honours rendered to Admiral Dean (killed June 2nd, 1653), while passing by water to Henry the Seventh's chapel, has the following allusion:—
"From Greenwich towards the Bear at bridgefoot,
He was wafted with wind that had water to't,
But I think they brought the devil to boot,
Which nobody can deny."
In another ballad, "On banishing the ladies out of town," by the Commonwealth authorities, the notoriety of " The Bear" at bridge-foot is again manifest:—
"Farewell bridge-foot and Bear thereby,
And those bald pates that stand so high,
We wish it, from our very souls,
That other heads were on those poles."13
"The Bear" at London Bridge foot is twice mentioned by Samuel Pepys, in his amusing Diary :—
'•'24 Feb., 1666-7. Going through bridge by water, my waterman told me how the mistress of the Beare tavern, at the bridge-foot, did lately fling herself into the Thames, and drown herself; which did trouble me the more, when they tell me it was she that did live at the White Horse tavern in Lumbard-street, which was a most beautiful woman, as most I have seen. It seems she hath had long melancholy upon her, and hath endeavoured to make away with herself often."
"3 April, 1667. Here I hear how the king is not so well pleased of this marriage between the Duke of Richmond and Mrs. Stewart, as is talked; and that he by a wile did fetch her to the Beare, at the Bridgefoot, where a coach was ready, and they are stole away into Kent, without the king's leave; and that the king hath said he will never see her more : but people do think that it is only a trick."
There is yet another poetical reference to "The Bear" at bridge-foot, in a scarce poem entitled "The Last Search after Claret in Southwark, or a Visitation of the
13 Burn's Catalogue of Beaufoy Tokens, p. 46 n. The allusion to bald pates refers to the traitors' heads exposed on the bridge gate.
Vintners in the Mint, with the Debates of a Committee of that Profession, thither fled to avoid the cruel persecution of their unmerciful creditors. A poem. London: printed for E. Hawkins, 1691," 4to.,14 in which "The Bear" is thus mentioned (after landing at Pepper Alley) :—
"Through stinks of all sorts, both the simple and compound,
Which through narrow alleys our senses do confound,
We came to the Bear, which we soon understood
Was the first house in Southwark built after the flood,
And has such a succession of vintners known,
Not more names were e'er in Welsh pedigrees shown:
But claret with them was so much out of fashion,
That it has not been known there a whole generation."
"The Bear" continued to afford hospitable entertainment to all who could pay, until the year 1761, when it was pulled down, on the bridge being widened, and the houses thereon removed.
In " The Public Advertiser," of Saturday, December 26th, 1761, is the following announcement:—
"Thursday last, the workmen employed in pulling down the Bear tavern, at the foot of London Bridge, found several pieces of gold and silver coin of Queen Elizabeth, and other monies to a considerable value." 15
The White Lion, the Crown and Chequers, the Three Brushes, or Holy-Water Sprinklers.
I Now come to one of the inns of Southwark to which the poet Shenstone's lines will hardly apply.
"Whoe'er has travell'd life's dull round,
Where'er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome at an inn."
14 From a communication by J. 0. Halliwell, Esq., F.S.A.
15 Chronicles of London Bridge, 548.
For, alas! the inn, of which I have now to speak, was also a prison; a house of entertainment to which guests were compelled to go by pressing invitation from the sheriff of Surrey.
Stow, in his "Survey of London," describing the High Street of Southwark, says: "Then is the White Lion, a gaol so called, for that the same was a common hostelry for the receipt of travellers, by that sign. This house was first used as a gaole within this three-score years last (i.e. from about 1538), since which time the prisoners were once removed to an house in Newtowne (Newington), where they remained for a short time, and were returned back again to the aforesaid White Lion, there to remain as the appointed gaole for the county of Surrey."
Among the records of the Court of Augmentations are the particulars for a grant by King Henry VIII., in the 36th year of his reign, to Robert Cursen, of part of the possessions of the dissolved monastery of St. Mary Overy, consisting of a tenement called "The Whyte Lyon," situate and being in the parish of the blessed Mary Magdalen, in Sowthwarke, which said tenement, on the east part abuts upon the new burying-ground of St. Olave's and a garden belonging to the late monastery of Lewes, on the west part on the king's highway, on the north part on the sign of "The Ball" late pertaining to the hospital of Thomas Becket, on the south part on a tenement belonging to Master Robert Tyrrell,16
16 From this description, the site of the house, called "The White Lion," in this particular, may be clearly and undoubtedly ascertained; as the new burying-ground of the parish of St. Olave (called the Flemish Ground) was in existence until the Greenwich Railway Company took it for making the road to the London Bridge termini, and it now forms part of the garden of St. Thomas's Hospital. "The White in the tenure of Henry Mynce, as demised to him by indenture dated 12th January, 29th Henry VIII., from Christmas-day then last, for the term of thirty years, at the yearly rent of sixty shillings, repairs at the king's charge, except the glazing and the emptying of the privies and cesspools, as in the said indenture appears. Comprised in the same particulars, is also the rent of one garden there, with a tenement situate in the same garden, lying and being within the parish of St. George, in Southwark, in the tenure of Walter Carter, demised to him by indenture dated 6th March, 27th Henry VIII., from the Annunciation next after the date, for thirty years, at the rent of 26s. 8c?.17
Presuming that "The White Lion" was the same house that was afterwards called "The Crown," or "The Crown and Chequers," and subsequently Baxter's Coffee-house, it existed until the year 1832, when it was pulled down for forming the approach to London-bridge, and the site is now occupied by the new north wing of St. Thomas's Hospital. This house is mentioned in "The Epicure's Almanac," 1815, as interesting on account of its antiquity, and the author states that it was part of a palace, where King Henry VIII. once kept his Lion was between the churchyard and the High Street, and nearly opposite to St. Saviour's Church. I am not sure, however, that this house was the White Lion Prison, which, at a later period, was certainly in the parish of St. George, on the east side of the High Street, near St. George's Church, and afterwards became the Marshalsea prison; now the shop and warehouse of Messrs. Twiddy and Tippet, cheesemongers.
17 This house and garden in St. George's was then, or afterwards, known by the name of Hangman's Acre. It was situate at the corner of Gravel Lane and Friar Street, and belonged to the White Lion estate when it came into the hands of the county. On it was built a house of correction, and it is now a soap-manufactory.
court. The writer says it was decorated externally with the remains of the royal insignia. Some of the rooms, then occupied by a hop-merchant, had ceilings richly embossed with the arms of the Royal Harry; and then the author conjures up a fanciful picture of King Henry and Anna Boleyn, and I know not who besides; and he refers to the Marquis of Salisbury's picture at Hatfield House, which he says represents King Henry VIII. at Bermondsey Eair, leaning on Cardinal Wolsey. This is the picture to which I had the honour of drawing the notice of this Society, at a meeting held at Horselydown in October, 1855, and which has been beautifully etched by Mr. Le Keux, in the first volume of our Proceedings. The spot represented is, I believe, Horselydown, and very near to the place where we are now assembled (St. Olave's New Grammar School); but the date of the picture is 1590, half a century later than Henry's time, and the Royal Harry, Cardinal Wolsey, Anna Boleyn, and the rest, are mere creations of the author's fancy; as also is the idea of the house in question having been a royal palace, and the king's arms being embossed on the ceiling of one of the rooms.
But we have seen that "The White Lion" was part of the plunder of the monastery of St. Mary Overy, and was sold by King Henry VIII. to Robert Cursen; and that will account for the king's name having become traditionally connected with it. In a house adjoining there was a panelled room having on the ceiling the arms of Queen Elizabeth, with the letters E.R.; and (if this "White Lion" was the prison of that name) the room so decorated was probably the court-room, in which the justices sat and held their sessions.
That the house was an ancient and curious building, you may judge from the engraving of the exterior view (from Taylor's "History of St. Saviour's"), and from the delineation of the ceiling, and one side of the courtroom, and of the staircase (from drawings by E. Hassell), which I now have the pleasure to exhibit.
The house to which this room with the panelled wainscoting and ceiling ornamented with the royal arms of Elizabeth, belonged, was situate in a small court between Baxter's coffee-house and the house of the late Mr. Josiah Monnery, hosier and glover, and at the rear of the latter house; it was occupied by Mr. Solomon Davies, a tobacconist, for some time during the progress of the new street to London Bridge. This house had formerly been known by the sign of "The Three Brushes," or holy-water sprinklers.
In 1652, it was conveyed by Thomas Overman to Hugh Lawton, who died in 1669; and in 1678, by bargain and sale enrolled in Chancery, Abraham Lawton, and Mary his wife, he being nephew and heir of Hugh, and eldest son of Abraham Lawton, eldest brother of Hugh, conveyed the premises to Nathaniel Collier, who by his will, dated 7th November, 1695, devised the same to his daughter, Susannah Lardner, wife of Richard Lardner. A fine was levied in 1703, and in 1739, Richard Lardner by his will devised to his son Nathaniel, who by his will, dated 9th March, 1767, gave a moiety of "The Three Brushes, or Sprinklers," to his niece, Mary Lister, eldest daughter of his sister, Elizabeth Neal, and the other moiety to Elizabeth Solly and Mary Rogers, daughters of his nephew, Nathaniel Neal.
In 1769, Isaac Solly, of Jeffery Square, St. Mary Axe, merchant, and Elizabeth, his wife; and John Rogers, of Bartholomew Close, warehouseman, conveyed and levied a fine of their moiety to the Rev. Wm. Lister, of 2Ware, who by his will, in 1777, devised this property to his sons, Daniel Lister, of Ware, gentleman, and William Lister, M.D., of the university of Edinburgh, and his daughter, Elizabeth Lister (who died unmarried); and in 1795, Daniel Lister, of Hackney, gentleman, eldest son and heir of William Lister, clerk, and Mary, his wife, conveyed the premises to Joseph Prince, of the borough of Southwark, hop-merchant, and of Camberwell; whose son, John Prince, Esq., of Southwark and Parnham Hall, Hertfordshire, married, in 1809, Harriett Hannah Hall, daughter of John Hall, Esq., of Halkin Street, Grosvenor Place; and in 1832 this property was sold to the governors of St. Thomas's Hospital, and is now comprised within the hospital gates.
A plan on a lease of the date of 1767 calls the publichouse "The Crown." And in 1783 the premises are described as, "All those two several messuages or tenements, formerly one messuage or tenement, and afterwards three, situate in the parish of Saint Saviour, Southwark, heretofore called or known by the name or sign of 'The Holy-water Sprinklers,' or the 'Three Brushes;' theretofore, in the several tenures or occupations of Henry Thrale, Esquire, Josiah Monnery, and John Hargreaves, but then in the occupation of the said Josiah Monnery and Joseph Prince." 18
The house in front of the High Street, and on the south side of the passage, which was occupied by Mr. Monnery, became his own freehold property by purchase, and was sold by him to the corporation of London, for making the new street to London Bridge.
The only further notice I have of these premises is from Mr. Burn's Catalogue of Mr. Beaufoy's collection of tradesmen's tokens at the library, Guildhall; in which collection is a token inscribed "Robert Thornton, Haberdasher, his Halfe Penny ;" and on the reverse— "next the Three Brushes, in Southwarke, 1667 ;" and Mr. Burn in a note tells us that "The Three Brushes" was a tavern of some notoriety. In one of the disgraceful prosecutions under the papistical reign of King James the Second, Bellamy, mine host of "The Three Brushes," figured most contemptibly, as a witness for the Crown, on the trial of the Rev. Samuel Johnson, at Westminster Hall, on Monday, June 21st, 1686.
I now come to "The White Lion" as a prison; but I am by no means certain that "The White Lion " of which I have before treated is the same house that was the county prison; for at that time, when houses were not numbered, especially if they were occupied by tradesmen, they were known by signs; from which it did not follow that they were inns or public houses; but there was in the High Street of Southwark, as we have seen from Stow's "Survey of London," an inn called "The White Lion," which was used as a prison for the county of Surrey. In the 24th year of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the Queen granted the keepership of the Whyte Lyon prison in Southwark, to Thomas Lewis and Ann his wife, by letters patent, dated July 5th.
In a letter (contained in a volume of original letters and papers, in the library of the dean and chapter of Canterbury), from Lord Burghley to Sir Thomas Browne, sheriff of Surrey, written from the court at Oatlands, 24th of September, 1583: "The wife of one Thorp, late gaoler of the White Lion, complains that he had been injured, being put from keeping the prison by one Lewier, who made a lease of that house to Thorp for sixty years, whereby he claimed to have the same, and to be jailer there; be gave bond to tbe sheriff in £900." Lord Burgbley desires Sir Thomas to inquire into it. The result does not appear.19
While "The White Lion" was used as a prison, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the Roman Catholic recusants were confined there, as appears from the account of Donald Sharpies, renter (or receiver of rents) for Thomas Copley, Esq.20 (of Gatton, Surrey, and the Maze, Southwark), of receipts and payments on account of rents of lands and tenements in Southwark, A.d. 1569.
Paid to Mr. Cooke, keeper of the goale in Southwark, called the White Lion, for the charges of 3 prisoners—Ingram, Marshall, and Lawrance ... 3li. 8s.
Paid Mr. Waye, keeper of the Marshalsea, for 2 prisoners—Richd. Cooke and Rob. Cooke ... 48s. 8c?. •
And in 1570,—
Paid in the Crown Office, to Mr. Ive, for the fynes of the indictments of 18 persons ... ... ... 53s.
Paid for their fines to the Queen, ceassed by the Justice Southcoote, at 5s. each ... ... ... Hi. 10s.
Among the State Papers (domestic series, vol. cxl. No. 39), there is a certificate of Thomas Lewys, keeper of "The White Lion," dated 31st July, 1580, of the prisoners that were then or had been lately in his custody for matters of religion.
The records of the clerk of the peace for Surrey go no further back than the time of the restoration of King Charles II.; from them we learn that "The White Lion" had at some time been purchased by the county for the purpose of a prison, and that in 1681, "The White Lion" was in so ruinous a state, that prisoners could not be kept there safely, and, at the quartersessions held at Dorking in January of that year, a committee was appointed, but nothing was done till 1695, when the county prisoners, having been kept in the Marshalsea prison for some years in consequence of the ruinous state of "The White Lion," the sheriff agreed with Mr. Lowman, then keeper of the Marshalsea, for the use of that prison to keep the county prisoners in, and that Lowman should have the benefit of "The White Lion," except of that part of it which had been used as a house of correction; and in 1696 a lease of "The White Lion" was granted to Lowman for fifty nine years.31
When the present Queen's Prison (formerly called the King's Bench) was built, in the year 1758, the old King's Bench prison, which was on the east side of High Street, Southwark, near St. George's Church, became the county prison, and in 1811, after the building of Horsemonger Lane Gaol, the county magistrates sold it under the powers of an act of parliament, and it became the Marshalsea prison.
18 These particulars are from the deeds belonging to St. Thomas's Hospital, by liberal permission of Richard Baggallay, Esq., Treasurer.
19 Manning and Bray's Hist, of Surrey, vol. iii. App. xvi.
20 The Copleys were a Roman Catholic family, who suffered much for their religion in those times of persecution; and Mr. Copley was then abroad to avoid proceedings against him. These accounts are printed in Nicholls' " Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica."
21 Manning and Bray's Hist, of Surrey, vol. iii. App. p. xi.