|The Life of JOHN STOW. ||xxv
charitable Gifts in the respective Parishes in London, as far as possibly he
them. Which he was sometimes baulked in; being refused by some to let him see
Books or Tables. Thus for one Instance, he tells us, where he is speaking of
Bridge, how there was a Table hung up in the Chapel on that Bridge, containing
of such as had been Benefactors of Lands, or Tenements, or Money, to the
it. But the Chapel being turned afterwards into a Dwelling House, the Table was
to the Bridge House; and so, as it seems, under the Custody of the Bridge
Table he would willingly have published in his Book, if he could have obtained
thereof; which he could not.
This Act also of his that follows, viz. in taking the poor Prisoners Part, will
Abhorrence of Oppression, as well as Debauchery. In the Year 1552, he was of a
Inquest, to make an Enquiry against a Session of Goal Delivery. In this
Inquest, he and
his Jury Men found the Prisoners in Breadstreet Compter (for then the Compter
to be very hardly dealt withal, in their Provisions, and otherwise: and that
many Warnings given the Keeper (whose Name was Husbands) by the Court of
upon Complaint before. And moreover they found that Thieves and Strumpets were
lodged there, Four sometimes in a Night: whereby they might be safe from
were made abroad a Nights. Husbands was for these Crimes indicted at the
made a Shift still to rub it out, til the Year 1555. his House being his own,
the Prisoners away from him unto Woodstreet, where the Compter is still kept.
His concern for the poor Prisoners.
Vid. Breadstreet Ward.
There was another sort of Men that his honest Heart rose against, that affected
and strove to
be Jury-Men: who oftentimes for Reward were Perverters of Justice and Judgment.
called them the Ringleaders of Inquests; making a gainful Occupation of it.
laboured to appear upon Nisi Prius's before they were warned, or procured to be
come on by a Tallis: and such as procured themselves to be Foremen, when they
then took upon them to over-rule the rest to their Opinion. Such an one should
by Plaintiff and Defendant, not without Promise of Reward; And therefore, said
he, to be
suspected of a bad Conscience. And he added, how he knew one such that was
rung with Basins, and banished out of Billingsgate Ward: And yet aftward in
made Constable, a Grand Juryman, and Foreman of their Wardmote Inquest: And that
knew the like or worse of others.
Cheats and Impostors there were in his Time; who pretended to Skill which they
or some Ways or other amused the People, to draw Money out of their Pockets: of
many counterfeited themselves Phy-
sicians; who at the same Time got poor Peoples Money and endangered their Lives
Stow was glad when Justice took hold of them, and brought them to Shame. Two of
he takes Occasion to speak of, with their Punishment. One in the Reign of King
VI. about the Year 1550. a Poulter of Surrey, named Grig: who by giving out that
would take no Money for his Cures, and by pretending to heal by Words and
taken by the People for a Prophet, as well as a Physician. He was set on a
Croydon with a Paper on his Breast, on which was written his deceitful and
Dealings: and afterwards set on the Pillory in Southwark on Ladyday Fair; when
and Aldermen riding through the Fair, he asked them and all the Citizens
other Cheat of a Doctor was long before, viz. An. 1382. Who, as Stow relateth,
upon an Horse with his Face to the Horsetayl, and the Tayl held in his Hand as a
Collar of Jordans about his Neck, and a Whetstone on his Breast [to denote him a
Lyar.] And in that Fashion led through the City: and then banished. And
telleth, that many such Deceivers still were, who being never trained up in
Practice of Physic or Chirurgery, boasted notwithstanding to do great Cures;
upon Women, as in making them strait, that before were crooked, corbed, or
any Part of their Bodies. The contrary whereunto, saith he, is true: and then
Conclusion, That some had received Gold, when they had better deserved the
And lastly, as a Disproof of these Pretenders, he addeth an Apophthegm witty
so easy to turn a crooked Body strait, as to turn a Mustard-Quern: Nor one Leap
out of a
Docket maketh a Doctor.
But above all, he hated that Inhumanity, Ingratitude, nay Sacrilege, that many
in his Time
shewed to the Dead, in breaking down their Monuments, tearing away, defacing and
purloining the Brass and Inscriptions or other Ornaments thereon, alienating
and Burying Places, and not suffering their Bones to rest in quiet: tho' many of
the Builders of the Churches where their Sepulchres were, or good Benefactors to
Against these base Practices, too common in those Times, he often took occasion
declaim: and spared not them that were guilty herein. When in his Relation of
Ward he came to Aldermary Church, he mentioned the Foundation of that fair
Church to be
laid by Keble
Maior of London, who deceased 1518. and by his last Will gave
1000l. towards the building of the same; and was buried in a Vault there by him
with a Monument raised over him on the North side the Choir. But that which
added, that this Monument was destroyed and gone, and that he
Hated such as defaced Monuments.
Keble's Vault and Monument destroyed.