Category Archives: Tudor

A Virtual Tour of Early Modern London, Part Two.

Map

19 – Bell Inn Yard (off Gracechurch Street)

19

The site of the “Cross Keys Inn”, built in the fourteenth century, and burned down in the Great Fire of the seventeenth.   Plays were performed here at least as long ago as 1576.

20 – Royal Exchange

20bOriginally built by Thomas Gresham between 1566-9, as a rival to the bourse in Antwerp, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.  Subsequently rebuilt in 1669, and again in 1842-4.

21 – 80B Cheapside

21a

21b

The site of the Cheapside Conduit, a part of the Medieval water supply system.  The water supply was considerably improved by the construction of the “New River” by Hugh Myddelton in the seventeenth century.

22 – St Mary-le-Bow, or Bow Church, Cheapside

22

In the churchyard here is a – modern – statue to Captain John Smith, parishioner and merchant-adventurer, “first among the leaders of the settlement at Jamestown in Virginia [in 1607] from which began the overseas expansion of the English-speaking peoples”.

23 – Bread Street

23

The site of the Mermaid Tavern, where Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe  were wont to gather, Francis Beaumont memorably  writing of their encounters: “What things have we seen|Done at the Mermaid!|Heard words that have been|So nimble, and so full of subtle flame|As if that every one from whence they came|Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest|And had resolv’d to life a fool the rest|Of his dull  life”.  Also of the  birthplace of John Milton (at the sign of the “Spread Eagle”).

24 – Cheapside/Wood Street

24b

The site of the Cheapside Cross, demolished by “furious and zealous” Parliamentarians during the Civil War.  The Cheapside Hoard, the greatest collection of Elizabethan and Stuart jewellery ever found, was buried nearby, on the eve of the war.

25 – Milk Street

25

The site of the birthplace of the Renaissance Man and “Man For All Seasons” Thomas More.

26 – Guildhall, Guildhall Yard

26

The site of a number of important trials in the post-Medieval period, including those of Anne Askew in 1546, Nicholas Throckmorton, Lady Jane Grey and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1554, and Father Henry Garnet in 1606.

27 – Masons Avenue, off Basinghall Street

27

The site of a row of houses built in 1928  in the “Mock Tudor” or “Tudor Revival” style, and giving some sense of how much  of pre-Great Fire London might have looked.  The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner evidently rather disapproved of the quality of the twentieth-century craftsmanship, and the “flimsy applied half-timbering”.

28  – Aldermanbury Square

28

The site of a bust of Shakespeare,  also commemorating his fellow-actors John Heminge and Henry Condell, who, on his death, gathered together all his unpublished manuscripts, and had them published, by Edward Blount and Isaac and William Jaggard, in the “First Folio”, in 1623.   The inscription on the bust reads, in part, “They alone collected his dramatic writings regardless of pecuniary loss and without the hope of any and gave them to the world.  They thus merited  the gratitude of mankind”.

29 – Site of St Olave Silver Street

29a

Originally built in around 1181, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.

29b

Silver Street itself was destroyed during the Blitz.  Shakespeare once lodged here, with a family of Huguenots.

30 – St Paul’s Churchyard

30a

The site of Paul’s Cross, a sort of open-air pulpit, where one Dr Beal incited the “Evil May Day” riots in 1517, and Dean John Donne gave his famous “Gunpowder Sermon” in 1622.

30b

Mary Frith, aka Moll Cut-purse, the model for Dekker and Middleton’s “Roaringe Girle”, was brought here for punishment in 1612.

31 – St Paul’s Cathedral

31a

31b

“Old”  St Paul’s was built beginning in  1087 by Bishop Maurice, and extended in succeeding centuries, before being  burned down in the Great Fire of 1666 (image, Museum of London).

31c

The memorial to John Donne survived the fire, although, if you look carefully, you can still see scorch-marks around its base.

32 – St Andrew’s Hill

32a

32b

32c

The site of “Shakespeare’s House” – the former gate-house of the dissolved Blackfriars Priory.  According to the Deed of Conveyance in the London Metropolitan Archives, it cost him £140, at a time when the annual salary for a teacher was £20.

33 – Playhouse Yard (off Blackfriars Lane)

The site of the Blackfriars Theatres.  The first was built by Richard Farrant in 1576 on the site of the Great Hall of the dissolved Blackfriars Priory;  and the second by James Burbage in 1596-1600 on the site of the Parliament Hall (in which, incidentally, the Legatine Court had met in 1529 to discuss the proposed annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon).

33a

The “Second Blackfriars” was an indoor theatre, capable of being used throughout the year, and both during daytime and after dark, when it was lit by candles, and it was also an “all-seater”, seating some 6-700 in some – although not  much – comfort, at a cost of 6d a head.  In time, it became extremely popular with the fashionable set, and equally profitable.

33b

33c

The “Wanamaker” on Bankside is a modern replica of a Jacobean indoor  theatre,  and its interior conveys a real sense of what an indoor theatre     such as the “Second Blackfriars” would have been like.  A   sense of enclosed space, of intimacy, of proximity to the players, of exclusiveness perhaps.  Of  being surrounded by the shadowy  light of dancing candles, and the reflecting costumes and  jewellery of the actors and audience, “So  Glisterd in the Torchy Fryers”.  And, perhaps even more particularly,  of being surrounded by sound; and in enforced interludes in which the wicks of the lighting-candles are trimmed, by the sound of music.  Note in this context that the music in certain of Shakespeare’s later  plays, such as   “Cymbeline”, “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Tempest”, was not only well suited to, but probably also  specifically written for, performance in the indoor arena of the “Second Blackfriars”.

34 – Apothecaries’ Hall, Blackfriars Lane

34a

34b

34c

Originally built in 1633, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.  Subsequently rebuilt in 1668.

35 – New Bridge Street

35a

35b

The site of Bridewell Palace, originally built by Henry VIII in 1520, and granted by his son, Edward VI, to the City of London in 1533, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.

36 – Queen Victoria Street

36a

The site of the Second  Baynard’s Castle, built in 1338, rebuilt in 1428, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.  Lady Jane Grey and, nine days later, Mary (Tudor) were proclaimed Queen here in 1533.

 

A Virtual Tour of Early Modern London, Part One.

Map

1 – Monument, Monument Street

1

Built by Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke as a  monument to the Great Fire of 1666.  Archaeological excavations at Monument House uncovered a layer of debris from the fire, including charred imported Dutch and Spanish tiles – and a waffle iron!

2 – Old London Bridge

2

“Old  London Bridge” was finally demolished, after having stood for over six hundred years,  in 1831.  One of its most famous buildings was the palatial residence known as Nonsuch House, built between 1577-9.

The Port of London lay to either side of the bridge.

3 – Eastcheap

3

The site of the “Boar’s Head”, where, in Shakespeare, Falstaff frolicked with Mistress Quickly.

4 – Custom House, Thames Street

4b

The site of the original Custom House, built at least as long ago as 1377, close to the centre of activity on the waterfront, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.

5 – All Hallows Barking, Byward Street

5

This church survived the Great Fire (although it was badly damaged during the Blitz).  The diarist Samuel Pepys watched  the progress of the fire from the church, and noted how it “burned the dyall [of the clock]”, but “was there quenched”.

6 – Tower Hill

6a

6b

6c

The site of the executions of, among others, John Fisher, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Wyatt, Robert Devereux, Thomas Wentworth, William Laud and – regicide – Harry Vane.

7 – Tower of London

7

Used in the post-Medieval period less as a royal residence and more as a secure store and a prison.

8 – Seething Lane

8

The site  of a mansion owned by Elizabeth I’s spymaster Francis Walsingham in the Tudor period, and of the Navy Office in the Stuart period.   The Navy Office survived the Great Fire of 1666, but burned down in another fire in 1673.

9 – St Olave Hart Street

9a

This church survived the Great Fire (although it was badly damaged during the Blitz).

9b

Among those buried here are the Florentine merchant – and supposed spy – Piero Capponi, who died of the plague in 1582, …

9c

… and Samuel Pepys, who died in 1703.

10 – All Hallows Staining, Mark Lane

10a

10b

This  church survived the Great Fire of 1666, but its nave collapsed in 1671, due to undermining of the foundations by Great Plague burials.

11 – Lloyd’s of London Building, Fenchurch Street

11

The site of East India House, the London headquarters of the East India Company, built in 1648, and demolished in 1861.  Image, National Maritime Museum.

12 – St Andrew Undershaft, Leadenhall Street/St Mary Axe

12a

12b

Among the memorials here is one to the amateur antiquarian John Stow, the author of “A Survay of London”, who died in 1605.

13   – St Katharine Cree, Leadenhall Street

13a

13b

13c

Originally built in the Medieval period, in the Gothic style, and subsequently partially rebuilt in the post-Medieval, in 1628-31, in the Renaissance style.

Contains a memorial to the Merchant-Adventurer and sometime Mayor John Gayer, who died in 1649, and each year houses the “Lion Sermon” in remembrance of his having being spared by a lion in Syria in 1643.

14 –  Creechurch Lane/Bury Street

14

The site of the first synagogue after the Jewish resettlement in 1656.  The synagogue was demolished in 1701, and replaced by a larger one on an adjacent site just off Bevis Marks, which still stands.

15 – Bishopsgate

15

The site of one  of the gates in the Medieval city wall.  Through the gate to the north is Shoreditch, the site of ”The Theatre”, built in 1576, on the site of the dissolved Holywell Priory.

16 – Bishopsgate/Old Broad Street

16

Tower 42 now stands on what was the original site of Gresham College, founded through the bequest of the financier Thomas Gresham in 1597.

17 – Austin Friars, off Old Broad Street

17

The site of Thomas Cromwell’s lodgings from the 1520s until his execution in 1540.  Many of the scenes in Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” trilogy, fictionalising  Cromwell’s life, are set here.

18 – St Michael’s Alley (off Cornhill)

18

The site of “Pasqua Rosee’s Head”, the first coffee-house in the City, established in 1652, burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt as the “Jamaica” in the 1670s (the site is marked by a “Blue Plaque” on the present “Jamaica Wine House”).

Sir Martin Frobisher (1535-94)

1-frobisher-portrait-note-the-baggy-trousers-called-venetians.jpg

The merchant-adventurer, privateer and naval commander Sir Martin Frobisher died on this day in 1594, of wounds sustained in a naval action against the Spanish (he was  knighted for his service in seeing off the Spanish Armada in 1588).

2-frobisher-memorial-st-giles-cripplegate

His organs were buried in the church of St Andrew in Plymouth, and the rest of his body  in the church of St Giles Cripplegate in London, where there is a memorial to him.

Frobisher had previously set sail on board the “Gabriel” from Ratcliff in 1576 on the second of three ultimately unsuccessful voyages in search of the North-West Passage to China, returning from Canada with a cargo of what turned out to be worthless “fool’s  gold”.

3 -frobisher-plaque-ratcliff.jpg

4 -close-up-of-frobisher-plaque-ratcliff.jpg

The site in Ratcliff is marked by a “London County Council” plaque of 1922 in King Edward Memorial Park.

 

Some of the many executions in Tudor and Stuart London

Site of Tyburn Tree.JPG

On this day in 1541, according to the account given by Charles Wriothesley in his “Chronicle of England during the Reigns of the Tudors …”:

The Executions of Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham

“Culpeper [Thomas Culpeper, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber] and Dereham [Francis Dereham, Secretary to Henry VIII’s fifth wife Catherine Howard] were drawn from the Tower of London to Tyburn, and there Culpeper, after an exhortation made to the people to pray for him, he standing on the ground by the gallows, kneeled down and had his head stricken off; and then Dereham was hanged, membered, bowelled, headed, and quartered [for high treason against the King’s majesty in misdemeanour with the Queen].  Culpeper’s body buried at St Pulchre’s church by Newgate, their heads set on London Bridge”.

Also on this day in 1541, according to Wriothesley:

“Rafe Egerton, … one of my Lord Chancellor’s servants, and … Thomas Herman, sometime servant with Fleetwood, one of my Lord Chancellor’s gentlemen, were drawn from the Tower … to Tyburn, and there hanged and quartered for counterfeiting the King’s Great Seal”.

The Execution of John Roberts

And on this day in 1610, the Roman Catholic Priest – and since 1970 Saint – John Roberts was taken to be hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn for contravening the “Act Forbidding Priests to Minister in England”.  In the event, the crowd, who revered him for the work he had done among them during an outbreak of  the plague in 1603, saw to it that he died by hanging and was spared  the suffering of drawing  and quartering.  What could be  salvaged of his body was taken to the Benedictine priory he had founded at Douai in northern France.  One of his finger bones is preserved as a holy relic in Tyburn Convent.

“Bere-beyten on the Banke side” (1554)

A Medieval depiction of bear baiting

On this day in 1554, Henry Machyn wrote in his diary:

“The sam day at after-non was a bere-beyten on the Banke syde, and ther the grett blynd bere [whose name was Sackerson] broke losse, and in ronnyng away he chakt a servyng man by the calff of the lege, and bytt a gret pesse away, and after by the hokyll-bone, that with-in iii days after he ded”.

“Melody and joy and comfort to all true Englishmen and women” (Henry Machyn, 1558)

Somerset House (Cornelis Bol, c. 1650)Another in the occasional series on contemporary accounts of events in the history of London …

On this day in 1558, Henry Machyn wrote in his diary:

“And so her Grace [Elizabeth I] lay in the Tower unto the fifth day of December, that was Saint Nicholas even.  And there was in certain places children with speeches, and other places singing and playing with regals.

The fifth day her Grace removed by water under the bridge unto Somerset Palace, with trumpets playing, and melody and joy and comfort to all true Englishmen and women, and to all people”.

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (d. 1530) 

1 - A seventeenth-century portrait of Wolsey.jpg

On this day in 1530 died Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII’s Archbishop of York, Lord Chancellor and, in practice, alter rex, or “other king”.

2 - A twentieth-century depiction of Henry and Catherine appearing before Wolsey and the Legatine Court.jpg

Wolsey  had been en route from York to London, where he had been due to face a trial for treason  over his failure to  secure an annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon (so as to enable him to marry Anne Boleyn).  Among his last words were the following: “Had I but served my God with but half the zeal as I served my king [in his “Great Matter”], He would not in mine age have left me naked to mine enemies”.

3 - The Field of Cloth-of-Gold

The most of Wolsey’s many notable services to the state included arranging the “Anglo-French Treaty” in 1514, and the “Treaty of London” – essentially a pan-European non-aggression pact – in 1518, as well as the “Field of Cloth-of-Gold” (Camp du Drap d’Or) in  1520.

“The queen removed from the Lord North’s palace” (Henry Machyn, 1558)

Great Chamber.JPG

Queen's Walk.JPG

On this day in 1558, Henry Machyn wrote in his diary:

“The 28th day of November the queen removed to the Tower from the Lord North’s palace, [which] was the Charterhouse.  All the streets unto the Tower … new gravelled.  Her Grace rode through Barbican and Cripplegate, by London Wall unto Bishopsgate, and up to Leadenhall and through Gracechurch Street and Fenchurch Street; and afore rode gentlemen and many knights and lords, and after came all the trumpets blowing, and then came all the heralds in array; and my Lord of Pembroke bore the queen’s sword; and then came her Grace on horseback, apparelled in purple velvet with a scarf about her neck, and the sergeants of arms about her Grace; and next after her rode Sir Robert Dudley the Master of her Horse; and so the guard with halberds.  And there was such shooting of guns as never was heard afore; so to the Tower, with all the nobles … ”.

“All London did eat and drink and made merry” (Henry Machyn, 1558)

Sixteenth-century statue of Queen Elizabeth I, St Dunstan-in-the-West (formerly Ludgate) .JPG

On this day in 1558, Henry Machyn wrote in his diary:

“Between 11 and 12 a’forenoon, the lady Elizabeth was proclaimed queen Elizabeth, queen of England, France and Ireland, and defender of the faith, by divers heralds of arms and trumpeters, … dukes, lords  … and the lord mayor and the aldermen, and divers other[s].  The same day, at afternoon, all the churches in London did ring, and at night did make bonfires and set tables in the street, and did eat and drink and made merry for the new queen Elizabeth … ”.

It was the start of a Golden Age.

Edward VI entertains Mary of Guise (1551)

History's_Marie_of_Guise.png

Another in the occasional series on contemporary accounts of events in the history of London …

On this day in 1551, the boy king, Edward VI, wrote in his diary of how he had, amid much pomp, accommodated and entertained the Catholic Queen Dowager (and mother of Mary Queen of Scots) Mary of Guise at Westminster, after her ship had been forced ashore by bad weather en route from France to Scotland.

His entry reads in part as follows:

 “[D]ivers … lords and gentlemen, … ladies and gentlewomen went to her, and brought her through London to Westminster.  At the gate there received her the Duke of Northumberland, Great Master, and the Treasurer, and Comptroller, and the Earl of Pembroke, with all the sewers, and carvers, and cup-bearers, to the number of thirty.  In the hall I met he, with all the rest of the Lords of my Council, as the Lord Treasurer, … etc., and from the outer gate up to the presence chamber, on both sides, stood the guard.  And so having brought her to her chamber, I retired to mine.  I went to her at dinner; she dined under the same cloth of state, at my left hand; at her rearward dined my cousin Francis, and my cousin Margaret; at mine sat the French Ambassador.  We were served by two services, two sewers, cupbearers, and gentlemen.  Her master hostel [Maitre d’Hotel] came before her service, and my officers before mine.  … After dinner, when she had heard some music, I brought her into the hall, and she went away”.