The Life of JOHN STOW. xx

The Life of JOHN STOW.

Stow thought it worthy the transcribing and entring it into his Survey.

He was also acquainted with another learned Herald, William Segar, alias Portclose, an Officer of Arms with the Earl of Leicester, Governor of the Low Countries; who gave Stow a Relation of the Manner of keeping the Feast of St. George at Utrecht: having got from the said Portclose a true and faithful Description of it. This Herald gave him also an Account of the French King's investing with the Order of the Garter. The same Portclose told Stow, that Martin Skinke, a valiant Dutch Captain (who was Knighted by Leicester at the foresaid Feast) had promised to shew him Seventy Ensigns that he had won in the Field.

Acquainted with Segar, the Herald, Annal. p. 1198.

Annal. p. 1290.

His firm Judgment was, that the Arms of the City of London was ever born with a Sword in the first Quarter, which was the Sword of St. Paul: and that it was at first only the Red Cross, till the Dagger was added, upon Walworth's valiant killing Jack Straw, in honourable Memory thereof to the City, was all Fable, as shewed before.

St. Paul's Sword, not Walworth's Dagger, born in the City Arms.

And he was of the same Opinion afterwards, when Mr. Smith, the abovesaid Pursevant, had told him, that in our Lady Church of Antwerp he had seen in the Windows, the Picture of King Edward III. and of his Son, and also the Arms of divers Cities of England; and among the rest a Coat with a red Cross, and the Letter L in the first Quarter; which he therefore thought might be the Bearing of the City London in those Times; Mr. Stow would not be so persuaded, but affirmed it to be always as it was. This Coat stood then in the uppermost North Window of that Church.

The last Time the Parish Church of St. Botolph Aldgate was rebuilt, was between 2 and 300 Years ago. In this Church our Antiquarian observed a Coat of Arms engraven on the Stone Work; which he knew to be the Arms of the Trinity Priory. And hence concluded those of the Priory to be the Builders: as indeed the Prior was the Patron thereof.

The Builders of Algate Church discovered by the Arms.

Stow was true Antiquarian, in that he was not satisfied with Reports, or with the Credit of what he found in Print; but had recourse to Originals. He knew how much falshood is commonly thrust upon Readers, either by the Carelessness of Authors, or by taking up things too credulously, and upon slight Grounds, or upon Hearsays and the Credit of others. But Stow made use of his own Legs (for he could never ride) travelling on Foot to many Cathedral Churches, and other Places, where ancient Records and Charters were: and with his own Eyes to read them. Wherein he seemed to be very expert, as appears by that Multitude of Quotations and Transcriptions out of Chartularies, Registers, Records, Instruments, Muniments belonging to Monasteries, that shew themselves in his History, especially in his Survey. Therein he speaks somewhere (where he is treating of the Charter-House) of his reading Charters in King Edward the Third's Days. He often conversed in the Records of the Tower, and speaking once of the Fishmongers-Hall, said that by Records of the Tower he could prove they sometime had no less than Six Halls. He mentioned many ancient Wills that he read, where he found charitable Gifts bequeathed by generous spirited Citizens. He seemed to have perused all the Monuments and their Inscriptions throughout all the Parishes of London. He read Records Four Hundred Years before his own time, which he occasionally once mentioned where he writeth of Shoreditch; Which Place in his own Editions he always called Soersditch: and so he could prove it writ in Records for 400 Years, as he noted in his Margin. Where, by the Way, A.M. the Editor of his Survey after his Death, hath utterly falsified his Author. For where the true reading of Stow's Margin was, SOERSDITCH, so called more than 400 Years since, as I can prove by Record; the after Editions read, SHORESDITCH, so called more than 400 Years since, &c. And so spoiling Stow's Sense and Meaning. And besides, every where those Editions read Shoresditch where the former Editions set forth by Stow himself read Soersditch. Many such Errors crept into the last Editions of Stow's Survey, to the great Wronging of the accurate Author.

Diligent and conversant in old Charters.

There is a Volume of these his Notes and Collections, which first came into the Possession of Sir Simmonds Dews Kt. and afterwards procured by Mr. Harley, now Earl of Oxford and Mortimer; and placed in his own exquisite Library. Whence I transcribed what follows, concerning the old Tradition of a Flitch of Bacon due from the Prior of Dunmow in Essex, to him that had lived Seven Years with his Wife without any Disagreement between them; if he should come and demand it at the Priory there upon his Oath, viz. "Three Persons at several Times came thither and required a Flitch of Bacon; and being sworn had them. Which John Stow told to one who thus subscribed. Has notas habui a Johanne Stow, Anno 1604. These Notes were as follows. "

A Note of Stow taken of a Custom of the Priory of Dunmow.

" Memorandum quod Stephanus Stannel de Ayston parva in Com. Essex, Husbandman, venit, &c. to the Priory of Dunmow, die nativitatis Be' Marie, the 7th Year of Edw. 4. and asked pmam. Baconis. And being sworn before Roger Bulcot, then Prior, and the Convent of that Place, and a Multitude of other Neighbours, there was delivered to the said Stephen one pma. of Bacon. "

" Anno Dom. 1510, Thomas Leyfuller of Coggeshull in the County of Essex, came and asked one pmam of Bacon of Dunmow, viz. the 8th Day of September 2. H. 8. "