"well taken, and shall be publickly acknowledged.
And it is hoped this Motion will be the better received, since the doing this
contribute to a common Good, by rendring a Book of such a publick Nature more
correct and compleat. And especially, as to the Article relating to CHARITIES,
List thereof, among other good Ends, would do a Right to the Protestant Religion
professed in this Church of England, while the World sees so many Examples in
Protestant City, demonstrating how conversant those of that Communion have been
Brethren, I do approve of Mr. Strype's Undertaking in seting forth a new Edition
STOW's Survey. And the Matters propounded to you in this Paper, being so
conducive to the Improvement of it, I cannot but recommend it unto you, the
London, and of the Suburbs.
What Effect this good Motion had, I will not here declare. But some few of the
obliged me with the best Accounts they could make: As namely, Dr. Bradford, now
Right Reverend Father in God Bishop of Carlisle; Dr. Barton deceased, Mr.
Stringfellow Rector of St. Dunstan's in the East, &c. And I must needs
Bray, Minister of St. Butolph Algate; who understanding lately of my Purpose,
sent me in a very exact and particular Information in Writing, drawn out of the
Books, of all the Benefactions to that great and populous Parish: Some whereof
very large, and christianly generous. And what Care hath been taken to supply
of the Work, the Book in the several Places will shew.
Again, another Thing, that Labour and Diligence hath been bestowed in, relates
Laws, Customs and Usages of the City. Wherein the Liberties and Privileges, as
as the Duties of the Citizens, are contained. And therefore ought to be known
and in that regard necessary to be set down, as accurately and largely as might
Things so material for them to be advised of. This was laudably begun by A. M.
last Edition: but very much improved and enlarged in this. And to enable me the
in the doing the same, it was not only necessary to gather up, and present the
most important Acts of Parliament and Common Council, relating to the City and
Affairs; but also to have recourse to the authentick Books and Records belonging
Chamber of London: Where many ancient and curious Matters of this nature might
found. But this seemed to be somewhat difficult to be obtained. Yet by the
some Friends of Quality and good Account, and making the Court of Aldermen
acquainted with my Design, and requesting their Leave and Licence, I obtained an
Order from them to Mr. Ashhurst,
then Town Clerk, to give me Access to some of their Books, that might be most to
Purpose, and their Allowance to transcribe what I thought convenient out of
withal I was enjoined by the Court to leave in Mr. Town Clerks Hands all my
that I should so collect thence, to be reviewed and examined; lest some things
from them might seem prejudicial some way or other to the City, or be judged not
convenient to be known; or lest any Mistakes might be made by me in
Which (as was fit) I readily complied with. Many Remarks I took out thence,
respecting both the ancient State of the City, and also of the Courts, the
Magistrates, the Officers, &c. The chief Books I conversed with, were those
famous ancient Volumes, the one called Liber Horne, from the Writer, the other
called Liber Albus, i.e. the White Book. Both so often made use of and cited
by Mr. Stow. This last mentioned Book was composed in Latin, An. 1419. 7. H. 5.
mense Novembris. And what it contains is known by what is writ in one of the
Pages, viz. Continens
laudabiles Observantias, non scriptas, in dict. Civitate fieri
solitas, quàm notabilia memoranda, &c. sparsim &
"Containing as well laudable Customs, not written, wont to be
the said City, as other notable things worthy remembring, here and there
not in any Order written."
The Compiler of this White Book was one
whose Name fairly and largely writ fronts the first Page. Who I suppose may be
Carpenter, sometime Town Clark, in the Reign of Henry V. mentioned by Stow in
Survey among the worthy Benefactors of the City: and whose Gifts are there set down.
In this Volume are inserted Memorials of the Maiors, Sheriffs, Recorders,
Chamberlains, and the other chief Officers of the City: likewise all the
by the several Kings of England from William the Conqueror: and the
thereof. There is also a Tract of the Manner and Order,
"How Barones &
Universitas Civitat. London, &c. That is, The Barons, [i.e. the Freemen]
Commonality of the City of London, ought to behave and carry themselves towards
King and his Justitiaries Itinerants in the Time it pleaseth the King to hold
Pleas of the
Crown at the Tower of London:"
Together with many other Matters and Subjects,
contained in this Choice MS.
Which being Things so weighty and necessary to be known, it was thought highly
useful to draw up an exact Transcription of them. Which accordingly was done
Three Hundred Years ago, in a fair Parchment Book in Folio: and it remains in
Town Clerks Office. Which I had the Favour to see and make Use of for a
considerable Time; the Beginning whereof, giving a further Account of this
Book, I will take Leave here to transcribe Verbatim.