Tower of LONDON. The Liberties. 66

Tower of LONDON. The Liberties.

Baron, Mr. Fortescue, and the Master of S. Katharines.

In the Year 1595, Sir John Spenser Maior, the Business was not yet adjusted between the City and the Tower. For certain Apprentices, in the Month of June this Year also, rising in a tumultuous manner in divers Places of the City, and chiefly (as it seems) taking their Shelter here; the Maior, with the Swordbearer and Officers, went thither to suppress them. But the Lieutenant's Men hurt the Swordbearer, the Lieutenant himself present, and his Sword pulled down: Of which he complained to the Lord Treasurer.

Variance about the Limits still.

The Bounds controverted were at Little Tower Hill, the Postern and East Smithfield, on one side; and on the other, the Extent of Tower Hill, and toward Barking Church. The Particularities whereof will further appear, by a Paper I have seen in the Tower, entitled,

The Bounds controverted, Where.

Points of Controversy between the City and Lieutenant of the Tower, and other Officers there, as yet remaining undecided.


1. Imprimis, It is said for the City, That the Postern Gate in the End of London Wall, near the Tower of London, is the City's: And that the Houses builded upon, and near unto the said Wall and Postern, are the City's, and were all builded by the City: And that the City had, and ought to have the Profit and Jurisdiction thereof. Wherein the City is disturbed by Mr. Lieutenant.

G. Holmes Deputy Keeper of the Tower Records.

2. Item, That all the void Ground within the Postern Gate of London Wall, near the Tower of London, viz. the whole Hill and Ground where the Scaffold standeth for Execution of Traitors, and where the Sheriffs of London receive Prisoners from the Tower to be executed, (from which Place the Bound Stone is removed by Mr. Lieutenant's Command) with the Watergate, and the Gardens under London Wall, and certain Houses and Sheds builded upon the Soil there, are the City's, and within the Liberties and Freedom of the City London, and within the Parish of S. Alhallows Barkin, in the Ward of the Tower of London; and so Time out of Mind hath been, and of right ought to be. And that the City hath had, and ought to have, the Jurisdiction thereof. Wherein they are likewise disturbed by Mr. Lieutenant.

3. Item, That the whole Ground and Soil, called the Tower Hill, without the Postern Gate, being Parcel of East Smithfield, is the City's, and within the Liberties, Suburbs, and Freedom of the City: And that the City hath had, and ought to have, the Profits and Jurisdiction thereof. Wherein they are likewise disturbed by Mr. Lieutenant.

4. Item, Where Mr. Lieutenant holdeth Plea in the Court of the Tower, for all Matters of Debt, Trespasses, &c. be the same never so great, the Truth is, that that Court is only a Court Baron, and no Court of Record: And no Plea ought there to be holden for any other Matter, than may ordinarily be holden in the Court Baron at the Common Law.

5. Item, There be Exactions unjustly required and taken of Victuallers, bringing Victuals, Fuel, and other Things by Water to the City; which are taken by the Officers of the Tower, in the Name of Prizage, directly contrary to the Liberties of the City granted by her Majesty's Progenitors, and confirmed by her Majesty.

6. Item, There be Exactions unjustly required and taken at the common Watergate, near the Tower, of Citizens and others bringing Joiners Ware, and other Stuff over the Water, from Southwark, and other Places; which was ever wont to be free, and no such Exactions used to be taken there.

7. Item, There be other Exactions also demanded and taken of Poor and others, for drying of Cloaths, whiting of Cloths, and such like, both within and without London Walls; which was also wont to be free, and no such Exactions used to be taken.

There was another Paper, entitled,

A Brief Note or Abstract of Proofs, on the Part of the Maior, Commonalty, and Citizens of London, touching the Differences between the Lieutenant and them.


The Contents whereof were these:

I. Concerning the Postern. It appears by divers Accounts, beginning Anno 32 Edward I. and so continuing till Anno 7. Henry VIII. That the Maior and Commonalty of London did repair the Postern; and provided Locks and Keys for it, and scowred the Ditch there, to their great Charge. That it was called sometime Posterna apud Turrim; sometime juxta Turrim, and sometime, the Postern in the Tower Ditch.

Item, That they appointed Keepers of it, [the Postern Gate] as all other Gates of the City; and in Time of Danger, appointed Men to guard it. And they sometimes gave Charge to these Keepers, that they suffered not Leprous Persons to enter into it; Viz. 5. Edward II. and 19. Edward III.

In the 29th of Henry VIII. there was made a Presentment by the Wardmote Inquest of London, That the Dwellers there were common Bawds; and that they lodged suspicious Persons; using these Words, The Postern within our Ward.

The Lieutenant of the Tower, in Answer to this, said, That the Citizens had a Postern, but it was not this now in question, but a Postern in another Place further to the North in London Wall. To which the City replied, That by all Proofs, the Postern which the City had, must be a Place of Building and Habitation: But the supposed Place never was but a Bulwark of Stone; which some few Years past was taken down, as was testified by Witnesses. Again; the Postern which the City had, must be a Place of common Passage in and out of the City; which the supposed Postern never was, nor never could be. For it was an Entry into the Bulwark now decayed. And the great Tower Ditch lieth along to it: Which could be no Passage, nor never was, by Bridge or otherwise.

Also, it must be at the Tower Ditch, as the Evidence doth plainly appear; which the supposed Place is not.

Moreover, Mr. Lieutenant did make no Proof for the Postern, but only since K. Edward the IVth's Yime; and that only a Proof of Possession; viz. That they have Leased it, and held ever since. Whereas indeed, the Controversy hath been as old between the City and them at the least. And therefore their Possession, no quiet Possession. And so great and old an Adversary as the Lieutenant of the Tower being in Possession, is not easily gotten out; especially shadowing himself under Colour of defending the Queen's Right.

II. Touch-