Portsoken Ward. St. Katharines. 10

Portsoken Ward. St. Katharines.

More concering this Matter out of a French Record in Book H. Folio 199. and in Book Dunthorne, Folio 88. Which is a Desire of the Master of St. Katharines Hospital to have leave of the City to enclose a certain piece of Ground near the Tower of London.


It was told unto the Maior, Aldermen and Commonalty, how that John Hermesthorpe, Master of St. Katharines Hospital by the Tower of London, had a certain piece of Land which had somewhile been a Portion of the Garden of his Hospital; which Portion, King Edward, Son to King Henry, had purchased of those of the said Hospital for the Enlargement of the Tower Ditch; for which he paid unto the Master, Brothers, and Sisters of the said Hospital. 3.l 13.s. 4.d. yearly for ever: And that the said Hospital had received the said Rent ever since the Time of the Purchase. This Place, indeed, had heretofore lain void and waste, and had been of no Profit to any; serving only for a Resort or Meeting Place of Rogues and Women of ill Conversation. For the restraining of which Naughtiness and Pilferies, the said John had again purchased it of King Edward III. of whom he had received Licence to enclose the said void Piece for the Benefit of his Hospital; he paying to the King and his Heirs, into their Exchequer, 6.s. 8.d. for ever: By virtue of which Licence the said Master had already begun to enclose the said void Plat of Ground. This the Maior, &c. hearing of, sent to forbid the Enclosure of, affirming, that the said Plat belonged unto the Commonalty of the City of London; whereupon the Master forbore to proceed farther for six or eight Years together.

A Garden of St. Katharines.

A Place of ill Resort near St. Katharines.

At the End of this Term, the said Master made suit unto the Maior and Commonalty, that they would please to give him leave to enclose the said Place, were it but only to prevent and take away the Villanies which he affirmed to be there committed: For which Courtesy he then promised, that himself, and all the Brothers and Sisters of the said Hospital, would particularly, and in especial manner, pray for the good Estate of the City; and be willing moreover to pay some small yearly Rent unto the Chamber of Guild Hall, London, for ever. To this Suit the Maior, Aldermen, and Commonalty consented; and farther made choice of some certain Aldermen and Commoners, who should take a View of this, and other void Places belonging to the City, and make report to them, &c.

To prove that the Hospital of St. Katharines, with the Mills, and all that belong to it, together with the Tower Ditch, all East Smithfield without the Postern, before the Abbey of Grace, with the right hand Part of the Street leading along by Duddings Pond, are, and Time out of Mind have been, within the Liberty of the City of London; and parcel of Portsoken Ward without Aldgate, in the Suburbs.


The Maior and Commonalty of the City of London affirm, that in the Time of the Conqueror, and long before, the said Ward of Portsoken was called the Ward of Anglish Knightgilden: And that afterwards, about the eighth of King Henry I. Ralph the Son of Algode, Wolfard le Deverish, Orgar le Prude, with divers other substantial Citizens of London, descended of the ancient Race of the English Knights; being Lords of the Liberty of the said Guild, in the Soken aforesaid, and were seazed of all the Lands in the said Soken, (as by the Charter of the said King Henry it appeareth) did bequeath the said Soken and Lands unto the Church and Canons of the Holy Trinity Within Aldgate, London: Which Gift the said King Henry by his Charter (which the Maior and Commonalty have here to shew) also confirmed. Upon pretext of which Gift and Confirmation, Norman, at that time Prior, and the Convent of the Church aforesaid, as also their Successors, stood a long time possessed. Afterwards, among other things, Ralph the Prior, with the Canons of the said Church, did grant unto Maud Queen of England, Wife to King Stephen, a certain Parcel of Land in the said Soken, (the very same, namely, upon which the said Hospital of St. Katharines is now founded) together with all the Mill there in the Shambles*, in lieu of six yard Land in the Manour of Bracching, in the County of Hertford; even as by two Patents of the said King and Queen made upon that Occasion, it manifestly is declared. Moreover they affirm, that whereas the Lord Edward I. sometimes King of England, had not any piece of Ground of his own proper Lands near enough unto his Tower of London, whereupon to build up his Wall, and to make his Ditch about the Tower, which he purposed to do anew; he purchased of the Master, Brethren, and Sisters of the Hospital of St. Katharines by the Tower aforesaid, a certain Plat of Ground with Appurtenances in East Smithfield, adjoining unto the Tower, both for the laying of the Sand, Gravel, and Marle, which should be digged out of the Ditch, and that which should serve for the repairing of the Wall aforesaid: And that he paid unto the Master, Brothers, and Sisters aforesaid, five Marks, six Shillings and nine Pence, both for the Purchase of the said Plat, and the Recompence of their Loss long since sustained by the Enlargement of the Ditch, and Reparation of the Wall aforesaid; which he caused for himself and his Sucessors to be yearly payable out of the Exchequer: Which five Marks, six Shillings, ninePence, the Masters, Brothers, and Sisters (for the time being) of the said Hospital, have ever since the said Grant received, and do actually at this present receive it by virtue of the said Patent, which they now have by them, &c. The Copy whereof was entered upon Record in the Chamber of * Guild Hall; and acknowledged by them before Nicholas Brembre, then Maior, and the Aldermen. They affirm also, that in the 14th Year of King Edward II. at such time as he held Assizes in the said Tower, it was proved, that the said Ward of Portsoken (heretofore called English Knightgeld) was in, and of the Liberties of London; and that, so often as any Tax was to be raised for the King, or to be assessed for the Commonalty of London, upon the Commoners of the said City, or that any other Assessment was to be made by the said Commonalty, either for the raising of some Wall, making of any Enclosure, or for the Defence of the City; that all the People inhabiting the said Ward, were accustomed to pay the said Taxes, like other Freemen of the City; and the said Assessments were wont to be levied upon them, as upon other Freemen of the City, like as by the Transcript of the Rolls of the said Assizes * of the Kings, now remaining in the Treasury of the Guild Hall of the same City, most clearly it appeareth.

I find two several Copies of this; one in Book Dunthorne, Fol 80 and another in Book K. Fol. 56.

* In Escambio.

* This is several times written Ginhald.

* In itinere.

They farther affirm, that the Lord Edw. III. late King of England, Progenitor of our Lord the King that now is, in the 17th Year of his Reign, directed by his Letter * unto John Hamond, at that time Maior of his City of London, and his Majesty's Escheator in the same; in which Letters he made Rehearsal of all the former Business concerning the Wall and Ditch of the Tower, made in his Grandfather's time. He rehearsed also, how Ralfe of Sandwich, and John de Weston, late Constables of the Tower, did let

* Per breve suum.