The City of London as in Queen Elizabeth's time
|The Situation, Extent, and Populousness. ||2
furnished above with Houses and Shops of able Tradesmen, that Passengers might
rather take it for a fair Street than a Bridge.
The other Out-Parts and Suburbs are encompassed with rich and pleasant Fields, fertile
for feeding Horses and Cows, as well as for Hay, Tillage and Gardening.]
The Out-parts of the City.
The pleasant, profitable and healthful Situation of this
City, in respect of the River, the
rising Ground, and the Soil, (all so advantageous) is finely described by one of our
Poets; where his Muse is brought in, thus speaking, upon the Sight of LONDON:
Pleasant, profitable and healthful.
At thy great Builder's Wit,
Who is, but wonder may?
Nay, of his Wisdom thus
Ensuing Times shall say,
O more than mortal Man,
That did this Town begin,
Whose Knowledge found the Place,
So fit to set it in.
What God, or Heavenly Power,
Was harbour'd in thy Breast? &c.
Built on a rising Bank,
Within a Vale to stand;
And for thy healthful Soil,
Chose Gravel mixt with Sand.
And where fair THAMES his Course
Into a Crescent casts,
(That forced by his Tides,
As still by her he hasts,
He might his surging Waves
Into her Bosom send)
Because too far in Length
His Town should not extend.
And to the North and South
Upon an equal Reach,
Two Hills their even Banks
Do somewhat seem to stretch:
The two extremer Winds,
From hurting it to let;
And only level lies,
Upon the Rise and Set.
Of all this goodly Isle,
Where breathes most chearful Air,
And every way thereto
The Ways most smooth and fair;
As in the fittest Place,
By Man that could be thought,
To which by Land or Sea
Provision might be brought.
And such a Read for Ships
Scarce all the World commands,
As is the goodly THAMES,
Near where BRUTE's City stands.
And as LONDON is healthfully situated by Nature, so Mortalities and Sicknesses here
have arisen from accidental Causes. It was formerly thought to contribute much to the
Preservation of the good Air of the City, that nothing was burnt here but Wood or
Charcoal; and that even in Trades where much Fire was used. Ex Busca (as it runs in a
Patent of K. Edward I.) vel carbono bosci fieri consueverant Artificum rogi: i.e. The
Artificers Fires had been commonly made of Spray or Brush-Wood, or Wood coaled.
But when Workmen living in the Out-Skirts of London, began to bring in the burning
of Sea-Coal, (which was about the Time of Edward the First) it was much complained
of, as tending greatly to the making of the Place unhealthful. About the latter End of
that King it was, that Brewers, Dyers, and other Artificers, using great Fires, began to
use Sea-Coals instead of dry Wood and Charcoal, in or near the City.
occasioned the Prelates, Nobles, Commons, and other People of the Realm, resorting
thither to Parliament, and upon other Occasions, with the Inhabitants of the City, and
the Village of Southwark, Wapping, and East Smithfield, to complain thereof twice,
(one time after another) to the King, as a publick Nusance; corrupting the Air with its
Stink and Smoak; to the great Prejudice and Detriment of their Health.
The Use of Sea-Coals forbid by King Edw. I. as
unwholsome to the City.
The King therefore, first prohibited the burning of Sea-coal by his Proclamation.
Which being disobeyed by many for their private Lucre; upon a second Complaint, he
issued out a Commission of Oyer and Terminer, to enquire of all such, who burned
Sea-Coal against his Proclamation, within the said City, or Parts adjoining, and to
punish them for the first Offence, with great Fines and Ransoms. And upon the
Second Offence, to demolish their Furnaces, Kilns &c. wherein they burnt Sea-coals;
and to see the Proclamation strictly observed for Time to come; as a Record 35 Edw. I.
informeth. Tho' since, as Mr. Prinne
upon the Mention of this Record, Sea-
coal is now the Fewel perpetually used by our Artificers, and all sorts of Persons
besides, in or near the City, and elsewhere; and no where in these Days reputed a public
His Proclamation and Commission about
Brief Animadversions, &c.
Thus in former Times, as well as later, great Care hath been taken for preserving the
Wholesomeness of the Air of the City. For this End, Provision was made against
Stinks and annoying Smells, arising from the killing of Beasts in the said City; which
was thought once to have occasioned a grievous Plague there, in the Reign of King
Edward III. For the preventing therefore of the like Infection, and for keeping the City
sweet and clean, the said King Edward, about the Year 1361. sent his Commands to the
Mayor, Sheriffs, &c. that no Butcher should kill his Cattle nearer the City than
Stratford, or Knightsbridge.]
Orders (for preserving the Wholesomeness of the
Air) against killing Beasts in the City.
The City at this Time is of a very large Extent, in
comparison of what it was in former
Ages, or even when Mr. Stow made his Remarks, being by Computation thrice as big
in Compass. Besides, that the many Fields and Places that lay waste in those Days, are
now built into fair Streets, Lanes, Allies, and Courts.
The Extent of the City.
And for its Buildings, they are far more stately and uniform, especially since the new
building of the City with Brick, (which before was of Timber) occasioned by the
dreadful Conflagration of it, which happened in the beginning of the Month of
September, Anno 1666. A large Account whereof shall be given elsewhere in this
And as to the Populousness of the City, it is modestly computed to contain much above
an Hundred Thousand Souls.]
Soon after the Beginning of King James I. his Reign, the
vast Increase of the
Inhabitants of the City was taken Notice of. And as several new Storehouses for the
Reception of vast Quantities of Grain and Coals, were built, to provide in Case of any
Dearth, for the Supply of the People; so also many Places within the Liberties and
Suburbs, were now inclosed, and set apart for Burying-Places, the former Churchyards
not sufficing to contain the great Numbers of Bodies deceased, that they might lye
undisturbed in their Graves. Some whereof were consecrated by Dr. Abbot, then
Bishop of London; and others by Dr. King, his Successor in that See.
New Churchyards made.
According to a late Author's Calculation, (as we are told) LONDON, measured from
Limehouse to the End of Tuthill-Street in Westminster, (that is, from East to West) is
about Seven Miles and an half. And from the furthermost End of Blackman-Street in
Southwark, to the End of St. Leonard Shoreditch (that is, South and North) are
Length and Breadth of London.
Present State of the Univers. p. 64.