[S. Mary le Bow.] Cordwainer Street Ward. [Bow Bell.] 21

[S. Mary le Bow.] Cordwainer Street Ward. [Bow Bell.]

le Bow, in West Cheaping. As Stratford Bridge, being the first builded (by Matilda, the Queen, Wife to Henry the Ist) with Arches of Stone, was called Stratford le Bow; which Names to the said Church and Bridge, remain till this Day. The Court of the Arches is kept in this Church, and taketh Name of the Place.

The Chancel of this Church was raised, the Church new pewed, throughout repaired and beautified, in the Year of our Lord God, 1620.


William Parnel,
William Wallis,

This Church is of Cordwainer street Ward, and for divers Accidents happening there, hath been made more famous than any other Parish Church of the whole City, or Suburbs. First we read, that in the Year 1090, and the third of William Rufus; by tempest of Wind, the Roof of the Church of St. Mary Bow, in Cheape, was overturned: wherewith some Persons were slain; and four of the Rafters, of six and twenty Foot in length, with such Violence were pitched in the Ground of the High street, that scantly four Foot of them remained above Ground. Which were fain to be cut even with the Ground, because they could not be plucked out; for the City of London, was not then paved, but a moorish Ground.

Antiquities of Bow Church.

Roof of Bow Church overturned by Tempest.

In the Year 1196 William Fitz Osbert, a seditious Traitor, took the Steeple of Bow, and fortified it with Ammunition and Victuals; but it was assaulted, and William, with his Complices, were taken (though not without Boloodshed) for he was forced by Fire and Smoke to forsake the Church; and then being by the Judges condemned, he was by the Heels drawn to the Elmes in Smithfield, and there hanged with Nine of his Fellows. Where, because his Favourers came not to deliver him, he forsook Mary's son, (as he termed Christ our Saviour) and called upon the Devil to help and deliver him. Such was the end of this Deceiver, a Man of an evil Life, a secret Murtherer, a filthy Fornicator, a polluter of Concubines, and (amongst other his detestable Facts) a false Accuser of his elder Brother, who had (in his Youth) brought him up in Learning, and done many Things for his preferment.

Bow Steeple fortified.

A false Accuser of his elder Brother, in the end was hanged.

In the Year 1271, a great part of the Steeple of Bow fell down, and slew many People, Men and Women. In the Year 1284, the 13th of Edward the Ist, Laurence Ducket, Goldsmith, having grievously wounded one Ralph Crepin, in West Cheape, fled into Bow Church; into the which, (in the Night time) entred certain evil Persons, Friends unto the said Ralph, and slew the said Lawrence, lying in the Steeple, and then hanged him up; placing him so by the Window, as if he had hanged himself, and so was it found by inquisition. For the which Fact, Lawrence Ducket being drawn by the Feet, was buried in a Ditch without the City. But shortly after (by relation of a Boy who lay with the said Lawrence at the time of his Death, and had hid him there for fear) the truth of the matter was disclosed. For the which Cause, Jordan Goodcheape, Ralph Crepin, Gilbert Clarke, and Geffery Clarke, were attainted, and a certain Woman named Alice, that was chief causer of the said Mischief, was burned; and to the number of sixteen Men, were drawn and hanged: Besides others, that being richer, after long imprisonment, were hanged by the Purse.

Bow Steeple fell down.

The Church was interdicted, the Doors and Windows were stopped up with Thorns; but Lawrence was taken up, and honestly buried in the Church-yard.

Bow Church interdicted.

The Parish Church of St. Mary Bow, by means of incroachment, and building of Houses without, wanting room in their Church-yard, for burial of the dead, John Rotham, or Rodham, Citizen and Taylor, by his Testament, dated the Year 1465. gave to the Parson and Churchwardens there, for ever, a certain Garden in Hosier lane, to be a Church-yard: Which so continued near a hundred Years, but now is builded on, and is a private Man's House. The old Steeple of this Church was by little and little re-edified, and new builded up, at the least so much as was fallen down; many Men giving sums of Money to the furtherance thereof. So that at length, to wit, in the Year 1469, it was ordained by a Common Council, that the Bow Bell should be nightly rung at Nine of the Clock.

A Churchyard given to this Church.

The Steeple of Bow.

Bow Bell to be rung nightly at Nine of the Clock.

Shortly after, John Dunne, * Mercer, by his Testament dated 1472. according to the Trust of Reginald Longdon, gave to the Parson and Churchwardens of St. Mary Bow, two Tenements, with the Appurtenances, since made into one, in Hosier lane; then so called, to the maintenance of Bow Bell: The same to be rung as aforesaid; and other Things to be observed, as by Will appeareth.

*Doune, first Edit.

Maintenance of Bow Bell.

This Bell being usually rung somewhat late, as seemed to the young Men, Apprentices, and others in Cheape, they made and set up a Rhime against the Clerk, as followeth.

Clarke of the Bow Bell,     
with the yellow Lockes;
For thy late ringing,     
thy Head shall have knockes.

A Rhime of Bow Bell.

Whereunto the Clerk replying, wrote:

Children of Cheape,     
hold you all still,
For you shall have the     
Bow Bell rung at your will.

The Parish Clerk's Office, belonging to this Church, was to ring the Curfew Bell: As it was to be rung at three other Churches in London, at a pretty distance each from other. That so, at this Notice, all the Curfew Bells in other Parishes, might be rung in due season: Viz. Berkin Church, St. Brides, and St. Giles's without Cripplegate. And if any Parish Clerk rung after the Curfew were rung at these Places, he was to be presented by the Quest of Ward-Mote in every Ward.]

The Curfew Bell rung here.

J. S.

Old Book of Lond.

Robert Harding, Goldsmith; one of the Sheriffs 1478, gave to the new Work of that Steeple, Forty Pound. John Haw, Mercer, ten Pound; Dr. Allen, four Pound; Thomas Baldry, four Pound; and others gave other Sums. So that the said Work of the Steeple was finished in the Year 1512. The Arches or Bows thereupon, with the Lanthorns, five in number; to wit, one at each corner, and one on the top, in the middle, upon the Arches, were also afterward finished with Stone, brought from Cane in Normandy; delivered at the Customers Key, for four Shilling six Pence the Tun. William Copland, Taylor, the King's Merchant; and Andrew Fuller, Mercer, being Churchwardens 1515, and 1516. It is said, that this Copland gave the great Bell, which made the fifth in the Ring, and to be called

The Steeple repaired.

Bow or Arches on Bow Steeple.

Copland gave the great Bell.