|The Life of JOHN STOW. ||xvj
Matthew Paris: and in the vulgar Tongue, as Polychronicon, William Caxton,
Cooper. Which if one looked into the Places he quoted, he should find no such
all. And as for other Authors which he pretended to quote, as Robert de
Walsingham, Henry of Leycester, and the Register of Bury, and many others, he
much as saw them, but only took what he alledged, not out of the Authors
out of his [i.e. Stow's] Summary. And in short, he wished the Readers to take
they were deceived with Lyes smoothly told.
Which Summary he abridged and so set forth as his own, which some learned, and
honourable Person (as Stow himself relateth it) forbad to be reprinted, as
discovering it to
be not his, but Stow's; but notwithstanding, there was a Second Impression. To
R.G. had the Confidence to put a Preface in Vindication of himself against Stow,
Stow trying to shame him gives the broad Term of a lying Preface.
Edward Hall had writ an History of the Union of the two Houses of York and
which Stow saith,
was had in great Price, and would doubtless hereafter be in
greater. This Book was set forth by Grafton, as tho' it were his own, which
tells the World as a publick Correction for him, in these Words,
any ingenuous and plain Declaration thereof, hath published, but not without
Mr. Hall's Book for his own."
And once more, John Harding, that lived An. 1450.
whom John Stow calleth, A stout and well learned Man, shewing how he had
Chronicle of England, with a Map or Description of Scotland to K. Henry VI.
this Chronicle did almost altogether differ from that which under his Name was
by Ri. Grafton. Thus would not our Stow spare this Plagiary. We shall hear
more of him
before we have done.
Description of Writers of History.
Our Authors good Judgment and Skill in Antiquity, joyned with an inquisitive
rendred him useful in divers Respects. He was not to be put off with Frauds and
Superstitious Fables, commonly imposed upon Men of less Accuracy: but was able
detect and discover them. And as he was a great Lover of Truth, so he was the
inquisitive to find it out: and his Reading and Learning the better enabled him
to do it. He
confuted the Story of Edward Hall in his Chronicle, following a Table (saith
Stow) then on
foot, concerning one Bolton, sometime Prior of St. Bartholomew;
Prognostications, that in the Year 1524. there should be such Eclipses in Watry
such Conjunctions, that by Waters and Floods many People should perish.
many removed to high Grounds for fear of drowning: And particularly Prior Bolton
builded him an House upon Harrow on the Hill, and that thither he went, and made
provision of all things
necessary within his House, for the Space of two Months, &c."
let pass without diligent Enquiry, and by credible Information found it not so:
and that the
Ground of the Story was only this, that this Prior being Parson of Harrow,
Reparation on the Parsonage-House; and builded nothing else but a Dove-House, to
him when he had forgone his Priory. Thus Stow sifted out Matters, and was not
carried away by Reports.
Discovers fabulous Reports Historical.
He confuted also the commonly related and believed Report of William Walworth
Jack Straw with his Dagger in the King's Presence: And that from that Act of the
Dagger was added to the Arms of the City, which was before a Red Cross only:
that Dagger was mistaken for St. Paul's Sword; born before in the old Arms, as
And that it was indeed Wat Tyler that was struck by Walworth, in arresting him
sound Blow on the Head; and afterwards wounded him with his Basiliard: whereas
Straw was taken and executed in Smithfield. As Stow gives a large Account of
it, when he
comes to Crooked-Lane Church, in Candlewick-Street Ward.
Concerning Walworth's Daggar.
And so again, he threw away the many fanciful Conjectures, whence the Name of
Aldermanbury, a Place in London, was pretended to be taken; disdaining not once
mention them, as being all fabulous: but giveth a more judicious Reason of that
Aldermanbury, appropriated to that Place, being anciently the Court were the
met; partly from his own Experience, and partly from his Skill in old English
own Experience, he himself having seen there the Ruins of the old Court Hall of
Aldermen, which they used before Guildhall was builded; which Place was then
Carpenter's Yard. And Bery or Bury, he understood to signify a Court or Hall,
no more than we mean by Guildhall: shewing that there in Aldermanbury, lying
the West of the present Guildhall, the Courts of the Maior and Alderman were
holden, before Guildhall was built.
The Shankbone of a Man, or of a supposed Gyant, which hung up by a Chain in the
Cloister of Aldermanbury Church, of 28 Inches and an half long (and which I my
many times seen there when I was a Boy, with the Picture of a Giant of suitable
by it) was commonly reported to be digged up at St. Pauls, when the Bones were
from the Charnel House, or the Cloister there, into Moorfields, in the Time of
Edward VI. But Stow made a doubt of it; because Reine Wolf the Stationer, a
Antiquarian, and the Man that paid for the Carriage of those Bones, never spake
a Word of
any such Bone found in either Place, tho' he had discoursed with him concerning
Bones which he carried away: Adding, that if such a
A pretended Giants Bone justly doubted of by