Downegate Ward. The Erber. 201

Downegate Ward. The Erber.


The Bounds. Tallow Chaundlers Hall. Skinners Hall. JESUS Commons. Innholders Hall. The Erber. The Stilyard; and the Merchants of the Haunce. Alhallows the Great. Alhallows the Less. Cold Harbour. Merchant Taylors School in Suffolk Lane. The present State of this Ward.

DOWNEGATE Ward beginning at the South end of Walbrook Ward, over-against the East Corner of S. John's Church upon Walbrook, and descendeth on both the Sides to Downegate, on the Thames, and is so called, of that Down-going or descending thereunto: and of this Downgate the Ward taketh Name. This Ward turneth into Thamesstreet Westward, some ten Houses on a side, to the course of Walbrook, but East in Thamesstreet (on both sides) to Ebgate Lane, or Old Swan; and over against Ebgate the Lane-side hath many Lanes turning up, as shall be shewed.

Downegate Ward.

The Bounds of it.

But first to begin with the High Street called Dowgate: At the upper end thereof is a fair Conduit of Thames Water, castellated, and made in the year 1568. at the Charge of the Citizens, and is called the Conduit upon Downegate. The Descent of this Street from the said Conduit to the Water Gate, called Downegate, is such, that in the year 1574. on the fourth of September in the Afternoon, there fell a Storm of Rain, where through the Chanels suddenly arose, and ran with such a swift Course towards the common Shores, that a Lad of 18 years old, minding to have leapt over the Chanel, near unto the said Conduit, was taken with the Stream, and carried from thence towards the Thames with such a Violence, that no Man, with Staves, or otherwise, could stay him, till he came against a Cart Wheel that stood in the said Water-gate, before which time he was drowned, and stark dead.

Conduit upon Downegate.

A Lad of 18 years old drowned in the Channel.

On the West side of this Street is the Tallow-Chandlers Hall, a proper House. Which Company was incorporated in the second year of Edward the fourth.

Tallow-Chandlers Hall.

Somewhat lower standeth the Skinners Hall, a fair House also, which was somtime called Copped Hall by Downegate, in the Parish of Saint John upon Walbrook. In the 19th year of Edward the second Ralph Cobham possessed it, with five Shops, &c.

Copped Hall, now Skinners Hall.

This Company of Skinners in London was incorporate by Edward the third, in the first of his Reign: they had two Brotherhoods of Corpus Christi, viz. one at St. Mary Spittle, the other at St. Mary Bethlem, without Bishopsgate. Richard the second, in the 18th of his Reign, granted them to make their two Brotherhoods one, by the Name of the Fraternity of Corpus Christi of Skinners. Divers royal Persons were named to be Founders, and Brethren of this Fraternity, to wit; Kings six, Dukes nine, Earls two, one Lord. Kings, Edward the third, Richard the second, Henry the fourth, Henry the fifith, Henry the sixth, and Edward the fourth.

The Company of Skinners.

Six Kings Brethren with the Skinners Company in London.

This Fraternity had also once every year, on Corpus Christi Day, after Noon, a Procession, which passed through the principal Streets of the City. Wherein was borne more than one hundred Torches of Wax (costly garnished) burning light, and above two hundred Clerks and Priests in Surplesses and Copes, singing. After the which were the Sheriffs Servants, the Clerks of the Compters, Chaplains for the Sheriffs, the Maiors Serjeants, the Councel of the City, the Maior and Aldermen in Scarlet, and then the Skinners in their best Liveries. Thus much to stop the Tongues of unthankful Men, such as use to ask, Why have ye noted this, or that, and give no Thanks for what is done?

Their pompous Procession.

Then lower down was there a College of Priests called Jesus Commons, a House well furnished with Brass, Pewter, Napery, Plate &c. besides a fair Library well stored with Books. All which of old time were given to a Number of Priests that should keep Commons there; and as one left this Place (by Death or otherwise) another should be admitted into his room. But this Order within this Thirty Years * being discontinued, the said House was dissolved and turned to Tenements.

Jesus Commons.

*Reckoning from the first Edition, which was in the Year 1598.

Down lower have ye Elbow Lane, and at the Corner thereof was one great Stone House, called Old Hall: It is now taken down, and divers fair Houses of Timber placed there. This was sometime pertaining to William de pont le Arch; and by him given to the Priory of S. Mary Overy in Southwark, in the Reign of Henry the First. In this Elbow Lane is the Innholders Hall, and other fair Houses: This Lane runneth West, and suddenly turneth South into Thames Street; and therefore (of that bending) is called Elbow Lane. On the East side of this Downegate Street is the great old House before spoken of, called the Erbar, near to the Church of S. Mary Bothaw, Geffrey Scroope held it by the Gift of Edward the Third, in the fourteenth of his Reign. It belonged since to John Nevell, Lord of Raby, then to Richard Nevell, Earl of Warwick; Nevell Earl of Salisbury, was lodged there, 1457, Then it came to George Duke of Clarence, and his Heires Males, by the Gift of Edward the Fourth, in the fourteenth Year of his Reign.

Elbow Lane.

Old Hall.

William de pont le Arch his House.


The Erbar.

S. Mary Bothaw.

But to give a fuller (and that an authentic) Account) of this ancient Royal Messauge. The highest that Stow could go was, that Edw. III. gave it to one of the honourable Family of the Scroopes. The last Possessor of that Name was William le Scroop, Knt. who lived in the Reign of Henry IV. He gave it for Term of Life to his Brother Rafe Earl of Westmoreland, who married Joan Daughter of the Duke of Lancaster,

The several Possessors of the Erber.

J. S.