|Cornhil Ward. Modern State thereof. ||149
half whereof is of the said Cornhil Ward, the other part is of Langborne Ward.
In this Birchin Lane in the later time of King Henry VIII. a certain great Man
Court had his House; who practised a Disorder: And his Example was so prevalent,
no Proclamations or Laws could redress it. Insomuch that a Writer of those days
not but take notice of it, in these Words:
"Not fully twenty four years ago
about 1540.] when all the Acts of Parliament, many good Proclamations, divers
Commandments, sore Punishments openly, special Words privately, could not do so
much, to take away one Misorder, as the Example of one big one of this Court
to keep up the same [perhaps it was the excess of Apparel.] The Memory whereof
yet remain in a common Proverb of Birchin Lane.]"
The ill Example of a great Man in Birchin Lane.
Ascham's Schoolmast. fo. 21.b.
This Lane and the high Street near adjoining, hath been inhabited (for the most
with wealthy Drapers, from Birchovers Lane on that side the Street, down to the
Stocks. In the Reign of Henry VI. had ye (for the most part) dwelling there,
or Upholders, that sold Apparel and old Houshold Stuff.
Upholders Sellers of old Stuffe in Cornhil.
I have read of a Country Man, that then having lost his Hood in Westmninster
found the same in Cornhil, hanged out to be sold, which he challenged, but was
to buy, or go without it: For their Stall (they said) was their Market. About
also, the Wine-drawer of the Popes Head Tavern, (standing without the Door in
high Street) took the same Man by the Sleeve, and said, Sir, Will you drink a
Wine? Whereunto he answered, A Penny spend I may: And so drank his Pint: For
Bread nothing did he pay. For that was then allowed free.
A Countryman that lost his Hood.
Popes Head Tavern on Cornhil.
Wine one Pint for a Penny, and Bread given free.
This Popes Head Tavern, with other Houses adjoining, strongly builded of Stone,
of old time been all in one, pertaining to some great Estate, or rather the King
Realm, as may be supposed, both by largeness thereof, and by the Armes; to wit,
Lions passant gardant, which was the whole Arms of England, before the Reign of
Edward III. that quartered them with the Arms of France, three Flower de Luces.
The Kings House in Cornhil.
These Arms of England, supported between two Angels, are fair and largely graven
Stone on the fore-front towards the high Street, over the Door or Stall of one
House, lately (for many years) possessed by Mr. Philip Gunter. The Popes Head
Tavern is on the back part thereof, towards the South, as also one other House,
the Stone House in Lombard Street. Others say this was King John's House; which
might so be: For I find in a written Copy of Matthew Paris his History, that in
1232. Henry the third sent Hubert de Burgho, Earl of Kent, to Cornhil in London,
there to answer all Matters objected against him: Where he wisely acquitted
The Popes Head Tavern hath a Foot-way through from Cornhil into Lombard Street.
And down lower on the high Street of Cornhil, is there one other way thorow by
Cardinals Hat Tavern, into Lombard Street.
Armes of England supported by Angels.
Hubert de Burgo, Earl of Kent, sent into Cornhil.
As for the modern State of this Ward, take this Account of it.
The Cardinals Hat Tavern.
This is but a small Ward, having but one principal Street, which is Cornhil,
whence the Ward hath its Name. But this Street is very spacious, and
lofty Houses, graced with good Fronts, and inhabited by Traders of good Note,
chiefly with Linen Drapers (who also deal much in India Silks and Muzlins) on
North side and Upholsters on the South; and many Booksellers about the Ex-
change. And by reason of its Vicinity to which Place, not only this Street,
but all the
adjacent Parts are of a great resort, and crouded with Merchants, and Tradesmen,
insomuch that the Taverns, Coffee-houses, Eating-houses, and other such like
of publick Reception, as they make considerable Gains, so they pay vast Rents.
The Places of Name and Note in this Street, beginning Westwardly on the South
are first, Cardinals Cap Tavern and Alley: the greatest Part in Langborn Ward;
the narrow Entrance from Cornhil being in this.
Popes Head Alley a little more Eastward, (from an ancient Tavern that had that
being a narrow Passage into Lombard Street, but well inhabited by Tradesmen,
Cutlers, and such as keep Toyshops: but far short to what it was before the
Exchange Alley, that lies next Eastward. Which had two Passages out of
into Lombard Street, and another bending East into Birchin Lane.
Popes Head Alley.
It is a large Place vastly improved, chiefly out of an House of Alderman
Goldsmith before the great Fire, well built, inhabited by Tradesmen; especially
Passage into Lombard Street against the Exchange, and is a Place of a very
Concourse of Merchants, Seafaring Men and other Traders, occasioned by the great
Coffee-houses (Jonathans and Garways) that stand there. Chiefly now Brokers,
such as deal in buying and selling of Stocks, frequent it. The Alley is broad
paved with Free Stones, neatly kept. The Fleece Tavern seated in Cornhil,
Passage into this Alley, being a very large House and of a great Resort.
Going over on the North side of the Street, most Westward is the Globe Tavern,
and of a good Trade.
Castle Alley, adjoyning Westward of the Exchange, being a great Thorough-fare.
this Alley is a small Court so called.
Then the Royal Exchange. Which before the Fire was a stately Building, in a
Quadrilateral Form, having a spacious Court or Area in the midst thereof, and
about the same, Piazza's, or Walks covered, and standing on Columns and Arches,
over every one of the said Arches were Niches, in which were the Statues of all
Kings and Queens from Edward the Confessor to King Charles II. Over these
or Walks were broad Galleries round about, with Shops on each side furnished
rich Commodities, chiefly relating to Apparel for the Body, and is still much
unto by the City Dames for the same. Underneath the said Walks were Vaults made
of by Merchants for the Storing of choice Goods, especially the Spices of the
For the Passage to these upper Galleries there were two large and spacious Pairs
Stairs; the one at the South Entrance, and the other at the North Entrance into
Exchange, as also two stately Portacoes into the Exchange on the same Sides.
the Southern Portacoe a lofty Tower with a Clock and Chimes: and at the top of
Grasshopper for the Vane, or Girella. And although the Building was of Brick
Wood, it was so covered with Plaister that it imitated Stone-work.
The Exchange built very stately.
Of this Burse or Royal Exchange Sir Thomas Gresham settled the one Moiety of the
Profits on the Lord Maior and Court of Aldermen, and the other Moiety of the
on the Company of Mercers, of which he was a Member. And thus did this Royal
Exchange continue in its Lustre just a Century of Years. For as it was erected
Year 1566, so it was destroyed by the Fire of London Anno 1666; and whereas the