The Life of JOHN STOW. xxiv

The Life of JOHN STOW.

Song; with Housing there, newly builded for them for ever, with certain Salaries to each. And in cafe the Drapers performed this not, then the 3000 Marks to go to the Prior and Covent of Christ Church, with Condition as aforesaid: Otherwise to be disposed by the Executors in Works of Charity. And then Stow's Conclusion bluntly and plainly follows: Thus much for his Testament, not performed, by establishing of Divine Service in his Chapel, or the Free Schools for Scholars. Neither how the Stock of 3000 Mark, or rather 5000 Marks, was employed by his Executors, could I ever learn.

The like Observation he makes of Bernard Randolph, sometime Common Serjeant of the City, who gave 1000l. in Lands or Annuities, for the Relief of the Poor in the Wards of Queenhith and Castle Baynard (where probably his Habitation had been) and in Tisehurst in Sussex, where he was born: Adding in his first Edition, (left out afterwards;) but that Money being left in Holdfast Hands, I have not heard how it was bestowed. Having, very probably, made Enquiry after so large and notable a Legacy of that eminent Officer of the City.

Nor Mr. Randolph's Legacy; Vol. 1. p. 266.

And of later Time, Alderman Billingsly, living in the Parish of St. Katharine Colman, gave by his Will 200l. to this Parish, for the Relief of the Poor; which good Intent of his is observed not to be performed, and the Poor wronged: Though this, indeed, is none of Stow's Observation, but of A.M. that set forth the Survey after Stow's Death.

Nor Sir Henry Billingsley's Gift.

Aldgate Ward.

And therefore, as he writes in a certain Place in his Survey, having known these Legacies of Charity left in Trust with Executors, hardly, or never performed; he wished Men to make their own Hands their Executors, and their Eyes their Overseers; not forgetting the old Proverb:

His Advice concerning Legacies.

Honour of Citizens.

Women be forgetful, Children be unkind;
Executors be covetous, and take what they find.
If any body asks where the Dead's Goods became:     
They Answer,
So God me help, and holy Dome, He died a poor Man.

Nor did he shrink to charge Corporations themselves, as well as private Persons, for the Abuse of the Charities of the Deceased. In Aldgate Ward, he giveth a List of many charitable Gifts of Sir John Milbourn, (who was sometime Maior) the Founder of the Almshouses in Crutched Friars. And therein specifieth a particular Number of Penny Loaves and Quantity of Coals to be distributed to the Parishes of St. Edmund's Lombard Street, and St Michael's Cornhill, for ever: And that he made the Company of Drapers of London, Trustees for these Charities; and settled upon them, for Performance, Three and twenty Messuages and Tenements, and Eighteen Garden Plots in the Parish of St. Olave Hart Street. Whereon Stow makes this severe Note in the Margin of his first and second Edition (but left out in the After-Editions) That these Points were not performed; and that the Drapers unlawfully sold these Tenements and Garden Plots, and the Poor were wronged. What Ground Stow had for this, which he sets down so particularly, I know not; but I know that the said Company at this Time (to do them Right) utterly disown this Charge; and a Copy of the Will of the said Milbourn (which I have seen and perused at the Draper's Hall, by the Favour of an eminent Member thereof, since deceased) mentioneth only the Almshouses; which that Company doth, according to the said Will, duly and faithfully maintain. And this is the Reason that A.M. thought fit in the After-Editions to leave this out, charging our Author to have erred in this Matter; saying, that he had a View of the Will by which the Almshouses were given, and other Writings touching the same; and that there neither were such Bread and Coals given, nor such Houses or Gardens assured to the Company. This then must be attributed to some Misinformation given to Stow; tho' otherwise wont to be very careful and exact in what he writ. Yet hence may appear what a Dislike he had of those, who by such Practices, wronged both the Dead that gave the Charities, and the Living who should have enjoyed them.

Sir John Milbourn's Gifts.

Aldgate Ward.

N. Tench, Esq;

Again, another Abuse he discovered in the Parish of St. Michael's Cornhil, where he was born; and openly blamed both the Executors and the Officers of the Parish; the former for detaining, the others for being so slack in recovering. One John Tolus, Alderman, in the Year 1548, gave to the said Parish and Churchwardens his Tenement, with the Appurtenances in that Parish, towards the Reparation of the Church, and Relief of the Poor: But the Parish (as he writes) never had the Gift, nor heard of it by the Space of forty Years after. Such, saith he, was the Conscience of G. Barne, and other Executors, to conceal it to themselves; and such the Negligence of the Parishioners, that being informed thereof, made no Claim thereunto.

Alderman Tolus's Gift.

Cornhill Ward.

And as he reproved this Parish on this Occasion of their Neglect in a Matter of Charity, so he commended them on another, when once they consulted Christianly for the Comfort of their Poor. He had been speaking of certain Lodgings of the Men that belonged to the Choir of St. Michael's Cornhill Church. And the Choir being dissolved, he took Notice how their Lodgings were appointed by the grave Fathers of that Time for ancient decayed Parishioners, Widows, and such as were not able to pay great Rents. Which blessed Work, he piously added, of harbouring the harbourless, is promised to be rewarded in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Their Care in St. Michaels Cornhill for Harbour for their Poor, noted.

That good Disposition that was in him towards Charity, made him preserve in his Survey, as in a standing Register, all the

A Table of Benefactors to London Bridge.

charita-