The Circuit Walk. Poplar and Blackwall.102

The Circuit Walk. Poplar and Blackwall.

Cobham Manour in Stepenhethe, granted to John Hadley, 11. Hen. 4. The same Manour of Cobham held by Katharine Wife of William Wolfe, 24. Edw. 4.

The Manour of Stebenhith, together with Hackney and Shorditch, held by Richard de Winchecomb, 49. Edw. 3.

The Manour of Pipeler [or Popeler] in villa de Stebenhithe, granted to John de Pulteney, 24 Edw. 3. Again, Popeler Manour, Stebbenheth Manour, and Brambelegh Manour, [which is East Smithfield] granted to William de Wickham, 16. Rich. 2.

Pountfret Manour in Stepene Mershe, granted to Margaret the Wife of Baldwin Straunge, Knight, 10. Hen. 6.

Mile End Manour, granted to John Philpot [an Alderman of London] 2. Rich. 3.

The Manour of Wyke in Hackney and Stepney, granted to Maud Wife of John Earl of Sarum, by Hen. 4. the first of his Reign.

Add, That the Chuch of Stebbenheth was granted to William Bishop of London, 1. Rich. 2.

In the Bishop of London's Register of Wills, are mentioned these Places in this Parish, above 300 Years ago.

Ed. Alex.

Capella Beatæ Mariæ in Marischo in parochia de Stepney.

Lymeostes, alias, Lymehouse in Stepney.

Roger Potter de la Popiler in parochia de Stebunheath.

Poplar and Blackwal.


WHich brings me unto one considerable Hamlet of this great Parish of Stepney, now called Poplar and Blackwall, where Sir Henry Johnson, Father and Son, had their Wet Dock and Ship Yard. John de Pulteney (as was noted before) held this Manour. This Pulteney was a famous wealthy Citizen, that had been four Times Lord Maior, and founded a College near St. Lawrence Lane, which hath its Name still from him. Cold Harbour was Pulteney's Inn, where he lived.


Record. Turr.

What farther followeth, both of this Place, and of a Chapel and Hospital here builded of later Times, I am beholden to the late Reverend Minister thereof, Dr. Josiah Woodward, who communicated to me the Accounts and Notices ensuing.

Popler or Poplar, is so called from the Multitude of Poplar Trees (which love a moist Soil) growing there in former Times. And there be yet remaining in that Part of the Hamlet which bordereth upon Limehouse, many old Bodies of large Poplars standing, as Testimonials of the Truth of that Etymology.

Poplar, whence so called.

Dr. Jos. Woodward.

To Poplar adjoineth Blackwall, a notable Harbour for Ships, so called, because it is a Wall of the Thames, and distinguished by the additional Term Black, from the black Shrubs which grew on it, as on Black Heath, which is opposite to it in the other Side of the River: [Or, perhaps, from the Bleakness of the Place and Situation.]


The Manour of Poplar did belong to the Crown, as some have informed; but now it is in the joint Possession of Thomas Middleton and William Benson, Esquires.

Poplar and Blackwall, which make one of the Tower Hamlets, is about seven Miles in Circumference; for about four of which, it bordereth on the Thames.

The fertile Soil of the Marsh here is much admired, usually known by the Name of The Isle of Dogs: So called, because, when our former Princes made Greenwich their Country Seat, and used it for Hunting, (they say) the Kennels for their Dogs were kept on this Marsh; which usually making a great Noise, the Seamen and others thereupon called the Place The Isle of Dogs: Though it is not an Isle, indeed, scarce a Peninsula, the Neck being about a Mile in Length.

Isle of Dogs.

There is in this Marsh, just opposite to Greenwich, an House called, The Chapel House; where are the Remains of a Chapel built of Stone. And near this, are Foundations of Houses found; and somtimes Hooks of a great Size, as though of some great Gate, taken up. Which maketh it probable, that hereabouts were Inhabitants formerly; perhaps Fishermen, or such as had their Livelihood from the Water: And that, by some Inundation, or the Unhealthfulness of the Situation, they left those Parts at Length, for some more safe and commodious Settlement.

A Chapel here.

Such is the Fertility of this Marsh, that is produceth Sheep and Oxen of the largest Size, and very fat. They are brought out of other Countries, and fed here. I have been asssured by a Grazier of good Report, (saith the Reverend Dr. Woodward) that he knew eight Oxen sold out of this Marsh for 34l. each. And all the Neighbourhood know, that a Butcher undertook to furnish the Club at Blackwall with a Leg of Mutton every Saturday throughout the Year, that should weigh 28 Pound, the Sheep being fed in this Marsh, or he would have nothing for them; and he did perform it. It may not be altogether foreign to this Subject, though it relate not to this Marsh, but to the whole Kingdom, to add, that one Mr. Elderton of this Hamlet, trading in Hogs, had two Hogs of so large a Size, that he sold one of them for 15l. and the other for above 20l. He is now living to testify it.

The wonderful Fertility of this Marsh.

Some other Matters of Remark happening here at Poplar, may be added. In the Time of the Elder Sir Henry Johnson, Kt. Ship-builder, an Horse belonging to his Ship-yard, was wrought there 34 Years, driven by one Man: And he grew to that Experience, that at the first Sound of the Bell, for the Men in the Yard to leave off Work, he also would cease labouring; and could not, by any Means, be brought to give one Pull after it. And when the Bell rang to Work, he would as readily come forth again to his Labour, which was to draw Planks, and Pieces of Timber, from one Part of the Yard to another.

Remarkable Matters happening at Poplar.

A Person lately living in this Hamlet, having a great Concern for the Safety of a Ship, that was like to break her Back at Blackwall, had his Blood and Spirits set into such an extraordinary Ferment, or Ebullition rather, by the Fear of her Miscarriage, that by the Violence of it, the Tops of the Nails of his Hands and Feet were cast off to a great Distance from their natural Situation, and so remained to his Death. And many Persons now living have attested the same.

A strange Accident befalling a Man in Fear.

A Sperma Ceti Whale was landed here not long ago; which, had the Owner known the Value of it, for making from the Blubber thereof (as they call it) Parma Ceti, might have brought him incredible Gain.

A Sperma Ceti Whale.

There is, in the Border of this Hamlet towards Bromley, a large Copperas Work: Wherein a great Quantity of Copperas is made every Year.

A Copperas Work.

Now for the Chapel of Poplar, and the Foundation thereof, and of the Hospital; and the several Benefactors to that, and to the Poor of that Part of Stepney Parish, I choose to give it in the Words of the late Reverend Minister thereof, beforenamed.

The Chapel and Hospital.

I very