The Life of JOHN STOW. vij

The Life of JOHN STOW.

"Pleaseth it your Honour and Worships to understand, That where your Orator, JOHN STOW, Citizen of this City, hath heretofore, to wit for the Space of Twenty Five Years past, (besides his Chronicle, Dedicated to the Right Honourable the Earl of Leicester,) set forth divers Summaries, Dedicated to the Lord Maior, his Brethren the Aldermen, and Commoners of this City: In all which he hath especially noted the memorable Acts of famous Citizens, by them done, to the great Benefit of the Commonwealth, and Honour of the same City, as also, in shewing themselves thankful unto God, have left a godly Example to the Posterity, to be embraced and imitated. In Consideration whereof, the said JOHN STOW mindeth shortly, if God so permit, to set forth a far larger Summary, or Chronicle of this City and Citizens thereof, than hereto hath been published. And forasmuch as the Search of Records in the Arches, and elsewhere, cannot but be chargeable to the said JOHN; as heretofore for many Years it hath been altogether of his own Charges; besides his other Travails and Study; he now humbly craveth your Honours and Worships Aid, in Consideration of the Premises, to bestow on him the Benefit of Two Freemen, such as your Honour and Worships shall like, to be admitted into the Freedom of this City. Whereby he may be helped somewhat towards his Charges, &c. And your Orator shall daily pray for your Honours and Worships Prosperity during Life." This I took from his own Original; which was a pretty, neat, small Hand; and Spelt well, according to the manner in those Days. And very probably Stow obtained this Favour from the Court.

Such another Petition he made to the said Court, in Consideration of his past Labours and Charges for the Service of the Publick; and especially the City; desiring a Pension Yearly: Which I will join to the former, though made some Years after: Herein he writes, "That he was of the Age of Threescore Years and Four; and that he had for the Space of almost Thirty Years last past, besides his Chronicles Dedicated to the Earl of Leicester, set forth divers Summaries, Dedicated to them, &c. He therefore petitioneth them to bestow on him some Yearly Pension, or otherwise: Whereby he might reap somewhat towards his great Charges."

For a Pension.

After his Summary, he published, in the Year 1600, (now after near Forty Years Study of History) his Flores Historiarum, that is, his ANNALS of this Land, from the Time of the Ancient Britains to his own; these were nothing else but his Summary greatly enlarged: Which he Dedicated to Archbishop Whitgift, moved thereunto, as he writ, by reason of that Prelate's great Love, and entire Affection to all good Letters in general, and to Antiquities in Parti- cular: Which had been so Singular, that all that liked and loved good Studies, did justly esteem him their principal Patron. This Epistle Dedicatory he dated from London, November the 24th, 1600. This Book was set forth again in the Year 1605, by Stow himself, with Enlargements, in the Black Letter, in a thick Quarto, Printed by George Bishop. And even this was but a Contraction of a far larger Composition of the History of England; which he had been Forty Years and more a collecting out of some Hundreds of Ancient Authors, Registers, Chronicles, Lives, &c. and Writings of particular Cities and Towns. These Annals, I say, were but an Abstract of a far larger Work, which he had gathered, and meant to have Published; but the Printer, for some private Respects, (fearing, I suppose, the Charges) chose rather to be concerned, for the present, in publishing more briefly Annals only of that History. In the next Page after his Epistle to the Reader, he sets down the Names of the Authors and Registers, Chronicles, Records, Books of Monasteries, Charters, &c. whence he collected these his Annals: And one cannot but observe his infinite Pains, by that vast Number of them, both Ancient and Modern, that he had perused, and made Use of for his Purpose.

Sets forth his Annals.

A far larger Work of History prepared by him.

Some Time before, (viz. Anno 1573,) came forth the Voluminous Chronicle of Britain, and the Kings and Queens thereof, Printed and Reprinted by Raphael Hollingshed; being the Laborious Collections of Reiner Wolfe, Printer to the Queen, and a Grave and Learned Citizen, and of others: Which forestalled Stow's said History. But had the good Archbishop Parker lived, (who had set him on Work, both by his Request and Command) it would have long before seen the Light, by that great Prelate's Furtherance, and (no doubt) Expence too. And it must be remembred here, that in the last and largest Edition of the said Chronicle, (which endeth at the Year 1587, and the 29th of the Queen) Stow communicated many considerable Additions to it, as in some Places in his Annals, he lets us know, that he had a Hand in those Chronicles set forth by Hollingshed: Where speaking of a Book called, A Declaration of the favourable Dealing of the Queen's Commissioners, &c. he saith, "He had caused it to be set down in the Continuation of that Chronicle, first collected by Reyner Wolfe, and finished by Ra. Hollingshed." He also inserted into the same Reyner Wolfe's Chronicle continued, A true and plain Declaration of the horrible Treasons, practised by William Parry. Likewise, A True and Summary Report of the Declaration of some part of the Earl of Northumberland's Treasons delivered, &c. "Which, saith Stow, are set down in my Continuation of R. Wolfe's Chronicle." And likewise, a Declaration of the Causes moving the Queen of England to give Aid to the Defence of the People, afflicted and oppressed in

Hollingshed's Chronicle forestalled the Edition of his.

Stow's Additions in that Chronicle.

Annal. Quarto, Page 1177.

Page 1180.

Page 1184, 1186.