The Life of JOHN STOW. iij

The Life of JOHN STOW.

Household Stuff. These were not of equal Credit with the Drapers and Taylors, but yet their Trades came near.

In the Year 1544, Stow was in some great Danger, by reason of a false Accusation, given in against him by a Priest. But the Priest's Perjury, either against him or some other, at length was discovered, and met with a due Desert; the Priest being adjudged in the Starchamber to stand upon the Pillory, and have his Check marked with F A, for False Accusing.

In danger by Perjury.

How soon Stow removed from Cornhill is uncertain; but in the Third of Edw. VI. that is, Anno 1549, I find him dwelling by the Well within Aldgate, where now a Pump standeth between Leadenhallstreet and Fanchurchstreet. While he lived here, a Rebellion and Insurrection happened in many Places of England, and particularly in Norfolk and Suffolk; and spreading to some Parts of Essex, One of which County happened to be executed upon a Gibbet in the Pavement before Stow's Door, by Martial Law; and that by the wrongful Accusation of one Sir Stephen, Curate of Creechurch, a zealous but fantastical Man. This poor Man, being the Bailiff of Rumford, had the misfortune to come to Town in the Heat of these Broils, and to light into the Company of the said Sir Stephen; who asking, What News? He told him, That many were up in Essex; but that Thanks be to God, Things were in good quiet about them. But whatever Surmise Sir Stephen had against this Man, or whatever Mistake he made of his Words, he presently goes and informs against him, as tho' he were concerned in the Rebellion; a Man very well beloved and of good Report, where he lived. But he was brought the very next Morning before a Court Martial, and sentenced immediately to be hanged in the Parish upon a Gibbet, set up in the Place before named. And so was brought early by the Sheriffs of London and the Knight Marshal; where Stow, standing at his own Door, saw the sad Sight, and heard him speak to this Effect, "That he was come to thither to dye, but knew not for what Offence, except for Words by him spoken Yesternight to Sir Stephen, the Curate and Preacher of that Parish; which were these; That asking him, What News in the Country? He answered, Heavy News: And when the other said, What? He replied, there were many Men up in Essex, but that, Thanks be to God, all was in good quiet about them. And this was all, said he, as God be my Judge." But Sir Stephen, saith Stow, to avoid the Reproach of the People, left the City, and was never heard of since to his Knowledge. Of this Priest, Stow living in that Parish, tells other odd Things, shewing his Zeal, but little Discretion.

Stow lives against the Pump within Aldgate.

One executed there at his own Door.

Afterward Stow removed his Dwelling into Limestreet Ward, in the Parish of St. Andrews, where he continued till his Death, following his beloved Study of the History and Antiquity of England more than his Trade: By occasion whereof he reduced himself at last to some Streights.

Lives in Limestreet-Ward.

Let me add here a Piece of Service he did for this Ward; which was, that he shewed the true Bounds of it, there especially where Bishopsgate Ward had encroached on this Ward of Limestreet, and taken in three Houses and certain Land near London Wall, that were situate West of the Chapel of St. Augustines Papey; which he vindicated to belong to this Ward, and neither to Aldgate Ward on one side, nor to Bishopsgate Ward on the other; both which contended for them. And that he did by certain Old Leases and Grants, and especially by the Book of the said Papey. And perhaps it is that very Book, that is to this Day kept in the Cotton Library. The shewed thence to the Contenders about it, how there was a Grant from the Maior and Aldermen of London, 6 Edw. 4. to the Fraternity of the Papey, "of certain Grounds both East and West, of a Brick-Wall that the Master and Wardens of the same had made, to close in the Chapel of St. Augustines, called The Papey Chapel, situate in the Parish of All Saints in the Wall, in the Ward of Limestreet; for which they were to yield to the City 4d. Sterling every Michaelmas." And so it was enrolled in the Guildhall, London, as he found in the said Lib. Papie'. Which was a sufficient Proof, that some Plot of Ground (which is no Question, now much improved by Building) to be of Limestreet Ward. And again, when once Aldgate Ward had claimed this Plot of Ground, the same Stow shewed them a fair Ledger Book, sometime pertaining to the Priory of the Holy Trinity within Aldgate, wherein were set down the just Bounds of Aldate Ward before Sir Thomas Offley, Alderman of Aldgate Ward; Sir Rowland Heyward, Alderman of Limestreet Ward; the Common Council and Wardmote of the same Ward: Whereupon Sir Thomas Offley gave over his Challenge until the Year 1579, wherein Sir Richard Pype, Maior and Alderman of Bishopsgate Ward, challenged the foresaid Houses to be of his Ward. Whereunto, saith Stow, without reason shewed, Sir Rowland Heyward yielded. And so he plainly leaveth upon Record, that the Side of the Street, almost to Bishopsgate, is unjustly drawn, and withholden from the Ward of Limestreet.

Vindicates the Bounds of this Ward at the Wall.

I find him here still inhabiting in this Ward, Anno 1585. In which Year there was a great Muster of Soldiers in London before Q. Elizabeth, consisting of Four Thousand Men, which the City set forth and furnished with Arms. For bearing the Charge whereof, certain Sums of Money were levied upon the Citizens in their several Wards. In Limestreet Ward were two Collectors, whereof John Stow was one, as one George Spering was the other; who accordingly paid in their Collections into the Hands of one Willibram, appointed as it seems thereunto. The Credit and good Esteem Mr. Stow had in the Place where he lived appeared by this Trust reposed in him.

He is a Collector for a great Muster, in Limestreet Ward.