Them, who against good Times do now-a-days withdraw their Charity,

V. It serves to undeceive; shewing the Legacies given, how they are bestowed, and the sad Loss of their great Donations, to invite all Pious and Good Men to their former Charities and Liberalities.

Its principal End and Intendment being this in general, to shew the rich Creditor his common Loss and Hazard, the poor Debtor his common Misery and Sufferings, and both of them the common Gain and Profit of Lawyers, Goalers, and their Under-Substitutes.

The Prayer of the Author is, That the present Power would be pleased, in their grave Wisdoms, to find out a better Way for satisfying of Creditors, an easier Punishment for those Debtors willing to pay their Debts, and a harder for such who make Prisons their Sanctuaries to defaud their Creditors. This is the hearty Desire of     
The meanest of Citizens, and humblest of your Servants,

Ludgate Chapel,
Nov. 7, 1659.


What it is: Not what it was.

I Have, by Preface, given the Reasons inducing me to write this small Tract, which, perhaps, to some may seem impertinent, to others sufficient for the exhibiting of a Matter of this Nature: And that I may methodize the Business, and model it to my best Advantage; and for the better understanding of the Reader, (being poor, and deprived of such Lights herein as are afforded by Records, and some Books of History and Survey) I will, so near as I can, give an Account of these five Heads following, viz.

I. Of the Nature and Quality of the Prison.
II. Of the Order and Government thereof.
III. Of the Officers thereof, and their several Duties.
IV. Of those Benefits and Privileges, which are vulgarly known and enjoyed by the Prisoners in the same Prison.
V. The Fees, and other Charges belonging to the House, at a Prisoner's Entrance and Exit.

Of which briefly thus:

I. To give Account what Prison was two hundred Years since, I must be beholden to Report, which, I assure, as very credible, and appears to me very reasonable, and is thus: That the Prison then consisted of those Rooms or Holes over and belonging to the Gate, built by King Lud, about the Year of the World 3895; but since beautified and enlarged by others: Neither had it then so goodly an Entrance thereinto as now it hath, (nor half so many Turnkeys) but only a little Door underneath the Gate towards Ludgate Hill, which still remaineth, though now quite useless.

When the Prison was in this Condition, there happened to be Prisoner there one Stephen Foster, who (as poor Men are at this Day) was a Cryer at the Grate, to beg the benevolent Charities of pious and commiserate Benefactors that passed by. As he was doing his doleful Office, a rich Widow of London hearing his Complaint, enquired of him what would release him? To which he answered, Twenty Pound; which she in Charity expended; and clearing him out of Prison, entertained him in her Service; who afterward falling into the Way of Merchandize, and increasing as well in Wealth as Courage, wooed his Mistress, Dame Agnes, and married her.

Her Riches and his Industry brought him both great Wealth and Honour, being afterwards no less than Sir Stephen Foster, Lord Mayor of the Honourable City of London: Yet whilst he lived in this great Honour and Dignity, he forgat not the Place of his Captivity, but mindful of the sad and irksome Place wherein poor Men were imprisoned, bethought himself of enlarging it, to make it a little more delightful and pleasant for those who in after Times should be imprisoned and shut up therein. And, in order thereunto, acquainted his Lady with this his pious Purpose and Intention; in whom likewise he found so affable and willing a Mind to do Good to the Poor, that she promised to expend as much as he should do, for the carrying on of the Work: And having Possessions adjoining thereunto, they caused to be erected and built the Rooms and Places following, that is to say, The Paper House, the Porch, the Watch Hall, the upper and lower Lumbries, the Cellar, the long Ward, and the Chapel for Divine Service: In which Chapel is an Inscription upon the Wall, containing these Words:

Sir Stephen Foster, a great Benefactor.

This Chapel was erected and ordained for the divine Worship and Service of God, by the Right Honourable Sir Stephen Foster, Knight, some Time Lord Maior of this Honourable City, and by Dame Agnes his Wife, for the Use of the godly Exercise of the Prisoners in this Prison of Ludgate, Anno 1454.

The Chapel.

An Act of so great Piety and Worth in a holy and religious Couple, is left without a Parallel in these uncharitable Times; which sooner sets the Stamp of Authority to Demolishments and Devastations, than gives the Favour of an auspicious Look towards the Increase of Piety, Vertue, and Godliness.

He likewise gave Maintenance for a Preaching Minister, which I suppose is in the Hands of the Lord Maior and Court of Aldermen, or some by