|The Life of JOHN STOW. ||xvij
monstrous Bone had fallen into his Hands, it would not have easily been gotten
being one of the greatest Preservers of Antiquities in these Parts for his Time.
Further, when the foresaid R.G. would have obtruded upon Peoples Belief fabulous
Reports concerning Relicks found of Giants; our Antiquary by his Skill and
Search, evidently confuted them. The said R.G. in a Book entitled, A Brief
History, wrote a Chapter of Giants or Monstrous Men. And therein he said, that
Year 1564. and in such a Day of the Month, he had in his Hand the Tooth of a Man
weighed ten Ounces Troy Weight, and the Skull of the same Man was extant to be
that held Five Pecks of Wheat, and the Shin Bone Six Foot in length: By which
Proportion, the Man must be 28 Foot long. And underneath in a kind of Glory he
subscribed, This saw R.G. And thence Grafton went to to mention one Gerard a
and his supposed Staff; which was then kept at an Inn in Basinglane London,
Gerards-Hall; which fabulous Tradition said, was the Giant's House; and there
Stow's Time, (and I believe long after) was preserved a Pole of Forty Foot long,
Fifteen Inches about. But Stow was not so credulous, nor would impose such
Stories upon his Readers without better Enquiry. And in short, he found that
Tooth (tho' sometime he thought it might have belonged to some Monstrous Fish)
nothing else but a Stone: and so he proved it: Nor was there any shape of a
there was no Skull at all to be found.
Fables of Giants Teeth &c. confuted.
This prodigious Tooth, with a Shankbone that was 25 Inches of Assize, Stow
speaks of in
Cheapward, hanging up in St. Laurence Jury Church: and that he himself had seen
above Seventy Years before; that is, before his own Second Edition of the
hung in Chains of Iron upon a Pillar of Stone: that imaginary Tooth, being about
bigness of a Mans Fist, long since conveyed thence. The Shankbone remained:
conjectured might belong to some Elephant. And of this Bone he observed, not so
the Length, (which most did) as the Thickness, Hardness and Strength thereof.
For it had
fretted and worn the Stone Pillar by which it hung, by often moving; but was not
fretted or worn. And he observed further, a Difference between this Bone, and
hanging up in Aldermanbury; that as that was longer by three Inches and an half,
so it was
more light, pory and spungy; This in St. Laurence Church more hard and steely.
Bone therefore at Aldermanbury, Stow was apt to think was of a Man: and so he
Form shewed: concluding it to be more than after the Proportion of Five
any Man now living among us.
Stow's Judgment of two large Shank-bones.
And as for the Giant Gerard and his House and Staff there, he found it to be
great House once belonging to a great Man, whose Name was GISORS, and his House
called Gisors-Hall, corrupted into Gerards-Hall.
And that high Pole which stood up in the high roofed Hall, that was said to be
was nothing else, (as he shewed from an old Custom in London) than a May-pole of
Wood, that used to be set up at some time of the Year in Summer, before the
or House in the Parish: and at other Times to remain and stand in the Hall
Skreen. And that this could be no Giants House he collected from the arched
Doors that he
had observed here, as not convenient at all for Men of such monstrous
Vid. Breadstreet Ward.
There was also standing by this Pole a Ladder of the same length: which together
said Pole, the Vulgar, apt to invent and belive Superstitious Stories, gave out,
as the one to
be the Giant's Staff that he used to tilt withal, so the other, that whereby Men
climbed up to
the Top of it. Whereas the Pole was nothing else but a May-Pole, as was said
which was used to be decked with Holm and Ivy at Christmas: and the Ladder
Men to go up for the decking of it. This Gisors-Hall was a large and spacious
having been the Habitation of the Family of the Gisors, flourishing much in
Honour in the City for a great while, in the Reign of King Henry III. and
Kings. One whereof, John Gisors, was Constable of the Tower, and Lord Maior,
1245. Another of that Name, a Knight, lived there, An. 1311. and Maior that
other Years. And since several others of the same Name and Family were Owners
There is no hindring the ignorant Populacy from receiving and crediting Fancies:
was justly offended with such as would be called Historians and Chroniclers, and
learned, so easily to take up such Lies and recommend them in their Writings to
as besides Grafton, Reyner Wolf and others did this.
Once again, whereas R. Grafton in his Chronicles had related concerning one
Read Goldsmith, Maior An. 1502. that in the Goldsmiths-Hall he entertained as
Guests, more than an Hundred Persons of great Estate; Messes and Dishes of Meat
in a vast number: Nay, and that there was a Park paled in the same Hall,
fruitful Trees and Beasts of Venery, and other like Circumstances: Stow
Dimensions of that Hall with the Room that all those Guests with their
Attendants, and the
other Magnificence did require; whereunto Westminster-Hall (he said) would scarcely
sufficed, concluded it with good ground a Fable, and far incredible, and
A Feast in Goldsmiths-Hall shewed to be
In Aldersg. Ward.
His Learning in Antiquities made him further useful, as in detecting falshood,
bringing Truth to Light: which some-
Shews antient Bounds and Limits in the