Another in the occasional series on contemporary accounts and descriptions of the historic City of London, this one written by the then Lord Mayor, Henry Le Galeys, in his “Provision for the Safe-Keeping of the City”, in 1282 …
“As to the safe-keeping of the City:- All the gates of the City are to be open by day; and at each gate there are to be two serjeants to open the same, skilful men, and fluent of speech, who are to keep a good watch upon persons coming in and going out that so no evil may befall the City.
At every parish church, curfew is to be rung at the same hour as at St Martin’s le Grand; so that they begin together, and end together; and then all the gates are to be shut, as well as taverns for wine or for ale; and no one is then to go about by the alleys or ways. Six persons are to watch in each ward by night, of the most competent men of the ward thereto; and the two serjeants who guard the gates by day, are to lie at night either within the gates, on near thereto.
The serjeants of Billingsgate and Queen Hythe are to see that all boats are moored on the City side at night, and are to have the names of all boats; and no one is to cross the Thames at night. And each serjeant must have his own boat with four men, to guard the water by night, on either side of the bridge”.
St Martin’s le Grand was a Benedictine monastery, founded as long ago as the eleventh century, by the brothers Ingelric and Girard. According to the “The Chronicle of the Grey Friars”, it was demolished under Edward VI in 1548.