Ludgate, What it is; not what it was.27

Ludgate, What it is; not what it was.

their appointment, who to this Day do allow a Minister for Sabbath Days, but what Salary he hath is not certainly known.

This was not all, his Charity stopped not here; he likewise ordained what he had so built, with that little which was before, should be free for all Freemen, and that they, providing their own Bedding, should pay nothing at their Departure for Lodging or Chamber-Rent, (as now they call it) which to many poor Men becomes oftentimes as burdensome as their Debts, and are by the Keeper detained in Prison as for Debt, only for their Fees, though discharged and acquitted of what they were committed for.

Lodging free.

This worthy Gentleman (sure) had some prophetick Inspection into the Times that after him should ensue, and we now see come to pass. And therefore it seemed needful to his judicious Eye, to lay a Charm or strong Obligation, and an absolute Fore-warning of the Master Keepers that should after come there, not to take or receive any such Money for Lodging, as is now daily exacted and extorted from poor Men; which, that it might be effectual and obligatory enough to the deterring of them from the Breach thereof, was rendered in a Style not ordinary, though very necessary; and is set down by Stowe in his Survey, to be in these Words:

For Water and Lodging there is nothing to pay,
As the Keeper shall answer at dreadful Doomsday.

This Inscription, engraven in Brass, was set up (as a Monumental Testimony of the Worthiness of the Act) in the said Chapel, just by the former Writing aforementioned, which some of the late Master Keepers (the Introducers of the present Oppression of paying for Lodging) most basely and injuriously caused to be taken down, and set up over the outward Street Door, with these Words engraven on the other Side, This is the Prison of Ludgate; absconding the former Words in the Wall; who could not but have a Reflection on his Conscience, whilst this Pillar of Truth and Antiquity stood staring in his Face, and was so obvious to the Eye of the Oppressed, and every honest Beholder.

A Brass Plate importing the same;

Taken away.

According to the Constitution of the Prison by the said Sir Stephen Foster, it continued many Years; and was, (and is still, though falsly) accounted the best and freest Prison in all England: And it was so then. For as Charity built the House, so Charity maintained the Prisoners in the House: But since Men of corrupt and seared Consciences have got the Dominion, who neither fear God, nor will serve Men in their Generations; what is there, or what can there be expected from such Men who make Gain both by their God and Godliness, but the Banishment of Charity and Piety, and razing of Records, the defacing, obliterating, and pulling down the poor Man's Pillar of Truth, and the horrid and inhuman spoiling and impoverishing of the Miserable and Oppressed?

The Abuses of this Prison.

The Water I find not to be altogether his Gift: (Which, indeed, is the only Thing that is free, though it may well be supposed by the former Words in Brass, that he had made a Provision for the Prisoners in that Kind) for that I perused lately a Book, wherein I found a Memorandum, That Sir Robert Knowles gave Maintenance for the Supply of the Prisons of Ludgate and Newgate with Water for ever; leaving it to the Care of the Company of Grocers: And that if, at any Time, any Stop should be, that the Water could not come to the Places aforesaid, (which God forbid) that then the Master and Wardens of the said Company shall repair to the Chamber of London, where the grand Instruments are kept; and to consult with the Lord Maior, Court of Aldermen, and Chamberlain, for the finding out some other Way for the Supply thereof. It is set down more largely in the Company of Grocers Journal-Book, to which I refer the Inquisitive.

Water granted to it by Sir Rob. Knowles.

II. As touching the Government of the said Prison, it will appear best in the Description of the Offices holden in the House. Which I shall endeavour to make perspicuous, as well by the Orders by which they are elected, as by some explanatory Additions, wherein there shall be Occasion; therein discovering the Government of the present from that of the primitive Institution. And so, as to this second Division, I shall only say this, That the political Orders by which it is governed by its own Officers, are derivative from the Power of the Lord Maior and Court of Aldermen of the City of London, many of whose Orders I have seen the Originals; and if so be that I could procure Copies of them, they would neither prove much useful nor profitable to me or the Reader, to publish.

The Government of it.

The Persons instrusted with the Government of the Prison, and the Execution of the said Orders, are the Master Keeper, the two Stewards, and the seven Assistants for the Time being. Who likewise have made, and do still make, as Occasion is offered, several and respective Orders, touching the decent and quiet Government of the Prison, the ordering and civilising of the Prisoners, and the Punishment of Misdemeanors and Offences therein committed. I shall now pass from this, and come,

III. To the several Offices therein holden, and to decypher (as near as I can) their Duties and proper Employments, viz.

The Officers.

1. A Reader of Divine Service.
2. The Upper Steward, called, the Master of the Box.
3. The Under Steward.
4. Seven Assistants, that is, one for every Day of the Week.
5. A Running Assistant.
6. Two Churchwardens.
7. A Scavenger.
8. A Chamberlain.
9. A Running Post.
10. The Cryers at the Grate, which are commonly six in Number..

I. Of the Office of the Reader.

BEcause I find that the Office of Reader first set down in the publick Orders of the House, I therefore will, in the first Place, exhibit his Duty, and Manner of chusing. And the Orders by which he was appointed his Office and Employment, I find to be made in the Reign of our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth, (for before her Time, I suppose, their Service was the Mass) and to be nominated and chosen thereunto by the Master Keeper, Stewards, and Assistants for the Time being successively, and not by common Vote at Elections, as other Officers are: Appertaining to the Appointment and Injunction of whose Duty, I find two or three Orders, which I must be content only to give the Sum of, being denied the Perusal of those kept privately, so as to take a Transcript; and those which are publick and commonly exposed, being so obliterated, that from them I could not. But his Duty was to ring the Bell twice every Day to Prayers; (whch is now fallen to the Officer called, A Running Assistant, for what Reason I shall afterwards shew) which, indeed, is all the Alteration which I find in this Office, from the primitive Institution thereof: Which

The Reader.