Hospitals. Christ's Church. Bridewel, &c. 177

Hospitals. Christ's Church. Bridewel, &c.
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The Prospect of Bridewell
  The Prospect of Bridewell ]

" able Officer in that Cause, thou calledst together thy Brethren the Aldermen of the City, before whom thou brakest the Matter for the Poor: Thou didst plead their Cause: yea, and not only in thine own Person thou didst set forth Christ's Cause; but to further Matter thou broughtest me into the Council Chamber of the City before the Aldermen alone, whom thou haddest assembled there together to hear me speak, what I could say, as an Advovate, by Office and Duty in the poor Mans Cause. The Lord wrought with thee, and gave thee the Consent of thy Brethren, whereby the Matter was brought to the Common Council, and so to the whole Body of the City; by whom, with an uniform Consent, it was committed to be drawn, ordered and devised by a certain Number of the most witty Citizens and politick; endued also with Godliness, and with ready Hearts, to set forward such a noble Act, as could be chosen in all the whole City. And they like true and faithful Ministers, both to the City and their Master Christ, so ordered, devised, and brought forth the Matter, that Thousands of poor silly Members of Christ, that else for extreme Hunger and Misery should have famished and perished, shall be relieved, holpen, and brought up; and shall have cause to bless the Aldermen of that Time, the Common Council, and the whole Body of the City; but especially thee, O Dobbs, and those chosen Men by whom this honourable Work of God was begun and wrought."

" And thou, O Sir George Barnes, thou wast in thy Year, not only a Furtherer and Continuer of that which before thee, by thy Predecessor was well begun, but also thou diddest labour so to have perfected the Work, that it should have been an absolute Thing, and a perfect Spectacle of true Charity and Godliness unto all Christendom. Thine Endavour was to have set up an House of Occupations, both that all kind of Poverty being able to work should not have lacked, whereupon profitably they might have been occupied to their own Relief, and to the Profit and Commodity of the Commonwealth of the City; and also to have retired thither the poor Babes brought up in the Hospitals, when they had come to a certain Age and Strength; and also all those which in the Hospitals aforesaid have been cured of their Diseases. And to have brought this to pass, thou obtainedst (not without great Diligence and Labour, both of thee and thy Brethren) of that Godly King Edward, that Christian and Peerless Prince, the Princely Place of Bridewell, and what other Things to the performance of the same, and under what Condition, it is not unknown. That this thine Endeavour hath not had like Success, the Fault is not in thee, but in the Condition and State of the Time."

By the Contents of which Letter before-cited may be understood more particularly than perhaps any History hath yet told us, what that Course and Method was the Citizens took in their first Attempts in founding Bridewell and Christs Hospitals.

But while these before-mentioned good Motions were in hand in the City, the King was excited to these Charities, by good Sermons preached before him; such was that of Mr. Lever, a Learned and Pious Preacher in those Days, and Master of St. John's College, Cambridge, who, in a Lent Sermon before him, had these Words: "O merciful Lord, what a Number of Poor, Feeble, Halt, Blind, Lame, Sickly, (yea, with idle Vagabonds, and dissembling Caitiffs mixt among them) lye and creep, begging in the Miry Streets of London and Westminster? It is too great Pity afore the World, and to utter Damnation afore God, to see these Beggings as they use to do in the Streets. For there is never a one of these, but he lacketh either thy charitable Alms to relieve his Need, or else thy due Correction to punish his Fault, &c. These seely Souls have been neglected throughout all England, and especially in London and Westminster. But now I trust, that a good Overseer, a godly Bishop, * I mean, will see that they in these two Cities shall have their Needs relieved, and their Faults corrected, to the good Ensample of all other Towns and Cities. Take heed that there be such Grass to sit down there, as ye [speaking to the King] command the People to sit down: that there be sufficient Housing, and other Provision for the People there, as ye command them to be quiet. The Men sat down about 5000 in Number:" Which was part of the Gospel for the Day, out of which he took his Text.

Thomas Lever's Sermon in Lent, Anno 1550.

* Bishop Ridley.

And Ridley, that zealous and charitable Prelate, and a true Father of his Flock in London, was seasonably called to preach before the King at Westminster; where he so closely and affectionately press'd Persons in high Place and Calling, to be Instruments in helping and succouring the Poor, that the King was exceedingly moved with his Discourse, and presently sent for him, taking notice to him of his Sermon; and that he supposed he chiefly had him in his Eye, as being the highest of those in great Place and Calling, that he the Bishop spake to. Then the King assured him of his own Readiness to promote such good Purposes; desiring him to direct him therein, and what he would advise him to do on that Part. How the Bishop hereupon referred the King to the City, and how the King presently caused a Letter to be penned and sent to the Maior and his Brethren to enter into Consultation about it; and how the Maior, the Bishop, and other eminent Citizens, met together to prepare something for the King in the behalf of their Poor; and the Report thereof made to the King, and other Matters relating hereunto, they are all set down at large under Christ Church in the Ward of Farringdon Within.

Ridley moves the King to Charity to the City Poor.

The Conclusion of this good Consultation was, that as the City had appointed the Gray Fryars, now called Christ Church for poor Children; St. Bartholomews, and likewise St. Thomas in Southwark, for the Maimed and Diseased; and Bridewell for the Correction of Vagabonds, Strumpets, and idle Persons, and for finding them Work; so they obtained of the King to grant the Governors of these Places to be a Corporation, and to have Authority convenient for the governing thereof: And he constituted himself chief Founder, and Patron.

The King makes the Governors of these Hospitals a Corporation.

In June an Indenture bore Date, and was made between the King, and the Maior, Commonalty, and Citizens of London, and their Successors for ever, towards the Maintenance of Poor and Impotent People; granting all the Manor House, and Place of Bridewell, with the Appurtenances, lying and being in the Parish of St. Bridget in Fleetstreet, with other Lands, and with a License to purchase 4000 Mark Land for the Use abovesaid; besides the Lands given them by his Majesty in London, and elsewhere; and to purchase so much Land, besides Fees and Pensions granted to the Officers; and that the Lands given them by the King should be quit and discharged of all Tenths and First Fruits. That they might make godly and wholsome Ordinances, Statutes and Rules, for the Government of the Poor. And that within the City of London, and County of Middlesex, they might search and examine all manner of suspicious Houses, Taverns, Ale-Houses, &c. and other suspected Places for Ruffi-

K. Edward's Grants.

K. Edward's Warrant Book, MSS. Dom. Petrens Lond.