Cornhil Ward. St. Peters 138

Cornhil Ward. St. Peters

Next adjoyning to this Royall Exchange, remaineth one part of a large Stone House, and is now called the Castle, of such a Signe at a Taverne Doore; there is a Passage thorow, out of Cornehill into Thee-needle Street: The other part of the said Stone House was taken downe, for enlarging the Royall Exchange. This Stone House was said of some to have bin a Church, whereof it had no proportion. Of others, a Jews House, as though none but Jews had dwelt in Stone Houses: But that Opinion is without warrant.

The Castle a large Stone House.

For, beside the strong building of Stone Houses, against the invasion of Theeves in the Night, when no Watches were kept, in the first Yeere of Richard the First, (to prevent the Casualties of fire, which often had happened in the Citie, when the Houses were builded of Timber, and covered with Reed or Straw, (Henry Fitz Alwine being Maior) it was decreed, that from thenceforth, no Man should build within the Citie, but of Stone, untill a certaine heighth, and to cover the same Building with Slate, or brent Tile. And this was the very cause of such Stone Buildings, whereof many have remained till our time; but for winning of Ground, they have been taken down, and in place of some one of them, being low (as but two Stories above the Ground) many Houses of four or five Stories high are placed.

The cause of Stone Houses builded in London.

From this Stone House downe to the Stockes, are divers large Houses, especially for height, for Merchants and Artificers.

The Parish of S. PETERS upon Cornhill.


On the South side of this high Street, is the Parish Church of Saint Peter upon Cornehill, which seemeth to be an ancient building, but yet not so ancient as Fame reporteth: For it hath beene lately repaired, if not new builded, except the Steeple, which is ancient.

Parish Church of S. Peter upon Cornehill.

The Roofe of this Church, and glasing, was finished in the Reign of Edward the Fourth, as appeareth by Armes of Noblemen, and Aldermen of London then living. There remaineth in this Church a Table, wherin it is written, I know not by what Authority, but of no late Hand *; that King Lucius founded the same Church, to bee an Archbishops Sea, and made it the Metropolitane and chiefe Church of his Kingdome, and that it so endured the space of foure hundred Yeeres, unto the comming of Augustine the Monke.

*Of a late hand.

Second Edit.

[Now, because many have urged it very earnestly to me, to let them be further acquainted therewith; I have here inserted the same verbatim, as it is there recorded in the Table.

A. M.

A COPIE taken out of the Table, fast chained in S. Peters Church on Cornehill.


Be it knowne unto all Men, that the Yeeres of our Lord God, a C. lxxix. Lucius, the first Christian King of this Land, then called Brytaine, founded the first Church in London, that is to say, the Church of Saint Peter upon Cornehill. And he founded there an Archbishop's See, and made that Church the Metropolitane and chief Church of this Kingdom: And so endured the space of CCCC. Yeeres, unto the comming of S. Austin, the Apostle of England, the which was sent into this Land by S. Gregory, the Doctor of the Church, in the time of King Ethelbert. And then was the Archbishops See and Pall removed from the foresaid Church of Saint Peter upon Cornehill, unto Dereberniam, that now is called Canturbury, and there remaineth to this day. And Millet, Monke, the which came into the Land with S. Austen, was made the first Bishop of London, and his See was made in Pauls Church. And this Lucius King, was the first Founder of Saint Peters Church upon Cornehill. And he reigned in this Land after Brute, a M. CC. xlv. Yeeres, and the Yeeres of out Lord God, a C. xxiiij. Lucius was crowned King, and the Yeeres of his Reigne were Lxxvij. Yeeres. And hee was (after some Chronicle) buried at London: And (after some Chronicle) he was buried at Glowcester, in that place where the Order of S. Francis standeth now.]

The Table in S. Peters Church.


This Inscription is still preserved in the new built Church, and hangs in a Table against a Pillar.]

J. S.

Joceline of Furneis writeth, that Thean, the first Archbishop of London in the Reigne of Lucius, builded the said Church, by the aide of Ciran, chiefe Butler to King Lucius. And also that Elvanus, the second Archbishop, builded a Library to the same Church adjoyning, and converted many of the Druides, learned Men in the Pagan Law, to Christianity.

Library of S. Peters upon Cornehill, now a Grammar Schoole.

William Harrison, discoursing hereon more at large, hath these very words:

Out of the Description of Britaine, written by William Harrison.

There is a Controversie (saith hee) moved among our Historiographers, whether the Church that Lucius builded at London, stood at Westminster, or in Cornehill. For, there is some cause, why the Metropolitane Church should be thought to stand where Saint Peters now doth, by the space of some foure hundred and odd Yeeres, before it was removed to Canterbury by Austin the Monke, if a Man would leane to one side, without any Conference of the Asseverations of the other. But herein (as I take it) there lurketh some scruple: For, beside that S. Peters Church stood in the East end of the Citie, and that of Apollo in the West, the word Cornehill, a denomination given of late (to speake of) to one Street, may easily be mistaken for Thorney.

A. M.

Cornhill perhaps for Thorney.

For, as the word Thorney proceedeth from the Saxons, who called the West end of City by that name, where Westminster now standeth, because of the wildernesse and bushinesse of the Soile: So doe I not read of any Street in London called Cornehill, before the Conquest of the Normans. Wherefore, I hold with them, which make Westminster to be the place, where Lucius builded his Church, upon the Ruines of that * Flamine, 264. Yeeres (as Malmesbury saith) before the comming of the Saxons, and 411. before the arrivall of Augustine. Read also his Appendix in Lib. 4. Pontif. where he noteth the time of the Saxons in the 444. of Grace, and of Augustine in 596. of Christ, which is a manifest Accompt, though some Copies have 499. for the one, but not without manifest Corruption and Error.]

No Street in London called Cornhill, before the Normans Conquest.

*There were three Archflamines, 1. at London, the 2. at Yorke, the 3. at Caerlheon upon the River Uske, builded by Belinus, and called Glamorgantia, now Chester, all destroyed by Lucius, because they were erected to Apollo, Mars and Minerva: Hee builded three other Churches in their stead.

And now to returne where we left: True it is, that a Library there was pertaining to this Parish Church, of old time builded of Stone, and of late repaired with Bricke, by the Executors of Sir John Crosby, Alderman, as his Armes on the South end doe witnesse.

This Library hath bin (of late time) to wit, within these fifty Yeeres *, well furnished of Books, John Leyland viewed and commended them; but now those Books are gone. And the place is occupied by a Schoolmaster, and his Usher, for a number of Scholars learning their Grammar Rules, &c. Notwithstanding, before that time, a Grammar Schoole had beene kept

Jo. Leyland.

*Reckoning from the Year 1598. when Stow first set forth his Survey.