Portsoken Ward. 11

Portsoken Ward.

out the same Place by Parcels unto divers Men, without Leave or Licence had therefore, either from the Kings, his Grandfather, Father, or himself; and that the said Place was then builded upon, and rented out for 40s. a Year, and that himself had given out Commissions to enquire upon the Reasons, Manner, Right, and Value of every thing, &c. And that the said John Hamond making Enquiry hereupon, made Return of all into the Chancery, &c.

East Smithfield builded upon.

They affirm moreover, that all the Lands and Tenements upon the foresaid Right Hand of the Way by Duddings Pond, and about the the said Places of East Smithfield, Tower Hill, and Romeland, circularly situated, were and have been in in the time of the holding the Assizes of the said King, impleaded and sued within the said City, and not elsewhere, as by the Evidences of the said Lands and Tenements, upon Record enrolled in the Guildhall, &c. appeareth.

They farther say, that in the Times of all the former Kings and Assizes, (time out of mind) so often as any Mis-hap or Casualty, such as Murther, Drowning, or other indirect Death of any Person, in any of the Places fore-mentioned, hath fallen out, upon which there was any Enquiry to be taken, or any Summons, Attachment, or Execution to be made in any of the said Places; yea, and which more is, even within the Tower it self, and at such time as the King (now and then) hath been present, have the Sheriffs, Coroners, and other Officers of the said City of London for the time being, and no other, used to make such Quests of Enquiry, Summons, Attachments, and Executions, and had right so to do; as it is most manifestly to be proved by divers Rolls of the Crown, and other Records of the Times aforesaid, now being in the said Treasury.

The say moreover, that amongst other Liberties granted by the King's Predecessors unto the Citizens of London, and ratified in divers Parliaments, this expressly is one, That no Arrest, Attachment, or Execution, be made by any Officers of the King's within the said Liberty, either by Writ or without Writ, but only by the Officers of the City. By all which Charters, Letters, Patents, Bills, Acts of Assize, Writs, Inquests, Returns, Rolls of the Escheators, and Crown-Office, Assizes, Pleadings, Enrollments, Freedoms, and most plentiful other kinds of Records and Proofs, it may easily and undoubtedly be concluded, that the said Hospital of St. Katherines, with the Mills, and other its Appurtenances; as also the whole Tower-Ditch, with all the Lands of East Smithfield without the Postern, before the Abby of Grace, together with the Right Side of the Street going by Dudding's Pond; as also the whole Ditch and Plain without the Tower, within the Postern, called Romeland, with all the Houses and Gardens round about them, have all the time aforesaid been within the Compass of the Liberty of the City.

The Liberties of the City this way.

The self-same Copy of what is last above, is something differently recorded also in Book Dunthorn; the different Points whereof, not mentioned in this former, I have transcribed.

Dunthorn, Fol. 84.

That the Hospital, Ditch, and the Tower Hill, are of the Parish of St. Botolph's Aldgate, and Parcel of Portsoken Ward: That another Part, by Romeland and the Thames, towards the Postern, by St. Katharine's Hospital, were of the Parish of Allhallows-Berkin, and of the Ward of the Tower of London. That Queen Maud was the Foundress of Trinity Church within Aldgate; that the Ditch begun by the Citizens in Rich. I.'s Time, was for Defence of the City. That there is another Soken within the Walls of the City, called the Inner Soken, which reacheth from Aldgate even unto that Gate of the Tower called * Cinigate; which Soken is within the Liberties of the City, as by some Records kept by the Prior doth appear. That the Inhabitants of Portsoken and the Tower are to be impleaded only in the Courts of the City, for all Matters, Causes, and Contracts howsoever arising. That the Tower hath no proper Court of its own, but only the Court of the Baron, which is no Court of Record, as by Records exemplified in the King's Bench it appeareth: That when any Murther or Drowning hath been within the said Hospital or Tower, the City Officers have attached the Malefactors within the Tower, notwithstanding that the King himself sometimes happened to be present within the said Tower, and have carried the said Men so arrested into some of the King's Prisons within the City. That when the Justices Itinerant have used to come to keep Assizes in the Tower, the Officers of the City have had the keeping both of the inner and outer Gates of the said Tower; and that nothing was executed within the Tower, which pertained to the Office of a * Servant, but by the Servants of the City. That the Sheriff of London hath had the Charge of all the Prisons in the Tower, so often as the said Justices Itinerant have come, as appears in many Rolls of Pleas of the Crown, and of the said Itinerant Justices.

Inner Soken.

* Cuning gate, perchance, or the Kings Gate.

* Sergeant, perchance.

By another short Record in the said Dunthorne, Fol. 85. it is specified, that if any were murthered within the Tower, or drowned in the Tower-Ditch, or in the Gate, called Water-Gate, that notwithstanding the King himself were there present, yet have the City Sheriff and Coroner sitten upon the dead Body, and empanelled their Juries.

Refer all this concerning the Privilege of the City within the Tower, unto Tower Street Ward.

The Letter or Commission of King Edward unto John Hamond, Maior of London, beforementioned, is to seen in Dunthorne, Fol. 87. 'Tis dated at Westminster, Octob. 21. in the 17th Year of his Reign over England, and over France the 4th. The Lord Maior's Return of the Inquisition is also there recorded.

More concerning the same Matter, and of the restoring to the Church of a little Piece of Land, encroached upon by the Constables of the Tower.


Stephen King of England, to the Bishop of London, and to the Justices, Sheriffs, Barons, Officers, and all his * Liege People of London, French and English, greeting. Know ye that I have restored, and new granted unto God and the Church of the Holy Trinity, London, and to the Canons Regulars serving God there, for the Soul of King Henry, and for the Salvation of my self and Queen Maud my Wife, and Eustace my Son, and of other my Children, and for ever do restore and grant, that Land of theirs in Smithfield, which Earl Geffrey had in his Occupation for the making of his Vienyard. Wherefore I will, and hereby firmly do command, that they shall well and peaceably, freely, quietly and honourably, have and hold the Land aforesaid; even as after the best manner they did freely and quietly enjoy other their Lands, and even as King Henry had before granted, and by his Charter confirmed it unto them. Witness Maud the Queen, Thomas my Chaplain, William de Ipra, and Richard de Lucye, at London.

* Fidelibus.

East Smithfield.

A Vineyard there.

At the same time did Earl Geffrey resign up his Possession, as by this his Deed appeareth.


Geffrey Earl of Essex, principal Constable of the Tower, &c. to the Bishop of London, and all that hold of Holy Church *, greeting. Know

* Fidelibus Ecclesia.