Antiquity of the Wall. 9

Antiquity of the Wall.

Danes. In the Year MXVI. Edmund Ironside reigning over the West Saxons, Canute the Dane bringing his Navy into the West Part of the Bridge by a Trench which he had caused to be cut, cast a Trench about the City; and then attempted to have won it by Assault. But the Citizens repulsed him, and drove him from their Walls. Also in the Year MLII. Earl Godwin with his Navy sailed up by the South End of the Bridge, along the Southern side of the River; and so astailed the Walls. And William Fitz- Stephen, writing in the Reign of King Henry II. of the Walls of this City, hath these Words, The Wall is high and great, well tower'd on the North side, with due Distances between the Towers. On the South side also the City was Walled and Towered, but the Fish-abounding River of Thames, with his Ebbing and Flowing, hath long since subverted them.

Wil. Malmsbury.

Asser. Marian. Florentius.

A Wall anciently along the Thames side, on the South.

By the North side, he meaneth from the River of Thames in the East, to the River of Thames in the West. For so stretched the Wall in his [Fitz-Stephens] Time. And the City being far more in Length from East to West, than in Breadth, from South to North, and also narrower at both Ends, than in the middle, is therefore compassed with the Wall on the Land-side in Form of a Bow, except denting in between Cripplegate and Aldersgate. But the Wall on the South side, along by the River of Thames, was strait as the String of a Bow; and all furnished with Towers or Bulwarks (as we now term them) in due Distance every one from other, as witnesseth our Author, [Fitz-Stephen,] and our selves may behold for the Lands side.

The Wall on the North.

This may suffice for Proof of a Wall, and the Form thereof, and the same to have been of great Antiquity, as any other within this Realm.

And now touching the Maintenance and Repairing of the said Walls, I find, that in the Year MCCXV. the 6. of King John, the Barons entring the City by Ealdgate, first took Assurance of the Citizens, and then they brake into the Houses of the Jews, and searched their Coffers, to fill their own Purses. And after, with great Diligence, repaired the Walls and the Gates of the City with Stones taken from the Jews broken Houses. In the Year MCCLVII. Henry III. caused the Walls of London, which were sore decayed, and destitute of Towers [and Towrets] to be repaired in more seemly wise than before, at the common Charge of the City. Also in the Year MCCLXXXII. King Edward I. having granted some Years before to Robert Kilwarby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Licence, for the enlarging of the Black Friars Church, to break and take down a Part of the Wall of the City from Ludgate to the River of Thames: He granted also to Henry Walleis, Maior, and the Citizens of London, the Favour to take, toward the making of the Wall, and Inclosure of the City, certain Customs, or Toll, as appeareth by his Grant. This Wall was then to be made from Ludgate, West to Fleet Bridge, along behind the Houses, and along by the Water of the Fleet, unto the River of Thames.

The Walls, how maintained and repaired.

Roger of Wendover.

Matt. Paris, Randalph Cogshal.

Matth. Paris.

Moreover, in the Year MCCCX. Edward II. commanded the Citizens to make up the Wall already begun, and the Tower at the End of the same Wall, within the Water of Thames, near unto the Black Friars, &c. [And there is a Record 10. Edward II. Anno Dom. 1316. London. de certis Consuetudinib. &c. de rebus venalibus ibid. capiend. in auxilium cujusdam nove Turris muro Civitat. juxta mansum fratrum Predicatorum perficiend. i.e. Concerning certain Customs and Tolls to be taken in London of Things sold there, for the Aid of finishing a certain New Tower on the City Wall, hard by the Mansion of the Friars Preachers.] It was also granted by King Richard II. in the Tenth of his Reign, that a Toll should be taken of Wares sold by Land or by Water, for Ten Years, towards the repairing of the Walls, and cleaning of the Ditch about London.

Custom to be taken for the New Tower by Black-Fryars.

J. S.

Record. Tur.

Several other Letters Patents of Kings were made for the repairing of these Walls and Ditches from time to time, as need required. What I have met with in Records, I will mention; and that Tax of Ten Years made by King Richard II. I shall set down at large. These were in Decay in the Reigns of Edward the First, Second, and Third, and Richard II. And for raising Contribution to do this Work (wherein so much of the Honour and Safety of the City, nay, of King and Kingdom, consisted) the Maior and Aldermen successively received Mandates from the Kings, to pay particular Customs or Tolls, upon the Provisions and Commodities that were brought in, to be sold and bought. And this was called Murage, which none were exempted from, except the City of Winchester, (and perhaps some few other Cities and Towns) which by a Composition with the City of London, paid no Pontage, Murage and Pannage.

Customs laid upon Goods for Murage.

J. S.


Such a Charter Edward I. granted about the Fourth of his Reign, Anno 1276. which I have read in the Records of the Chamber.

"Edwardus, &c. Edward, &c. To his welbeloved the Maior and Sheriffs, and the rest of his Citizens of London, Greeting. Know ye, that for Aid of Repair of the Walls, and Clausure of our City aforesaid, from the aforesaid Day to the End of Three Years next following, yee take, in the aforesaid City, of vendible Things coming to the City, the underwritten Customs, viz. Of every Poize [or Weight] of Cheese, Butter, &c. to be sold, 1d. Of each Weight of Lead, 1q. Of every Hundred of Wax to be sold, 2d. Of every Hundred of Almonds and Riges, 1d. Of every Hundred of Grane, 12d. Of every Hundred of Pepper and Ginger, Cetewal. Kanel. Frankinsence, Brasil, Quicksilver, Vermilion, Verdegreace, 2d. Of every Hundred of Cummin, Allum, Zubar, Liquorish, Anniseed, Cyromontani --------- 1d. For every Hundred of Brimstone, Arg. Rosin, Coperas, and Calamus, 1d. Of every gross Frail of Figs and Raisins, 1ob. And of every less Frail, 1d. And so of a great Number of Commodities more, each their Customs. Moreover, of every Hogshead of Beer going out of London to the Parts beyond Sea, 1d. Of every Mill to grind Things to be sold, 2d. Of every Horse to be sold at the Price of 40s. 1d. Of every Bull and Cow, ob. &c. "

The Toll granted by Edward I. for Murage.

Chamb. of Lond. Horn. Fol. 183.

And then the same King, in another Letter to the Maior, Sheriffs and Citizens, enjoyned them to proceed to the said Repairs: Which ran to this Tenor.

Cum concesserimus, &c. "Whereas we have granted you for Aid of the Work of the Walls of our City, and the Closure of the same, divers Customs of vendible Things, coming to the said City, to be taken for a certain Time, We command you, that you cause to be finished the Wall of the said City, now begun near the Friars Preachers, and a certain good and comely Tower at the Head of the said Wall within the Water of the Thames, &c. "

The King's Letter to repair the Walls ubi supra.

Divers such Letters were issued out in the Reign of the next King Edward II. as in his First Year, Second, Sixth, Eighth, till the 12th; when by long taking of these Customs, there followed at length a great Inconvenience; which was, that Provisions were more sparingly brought to the City, for the Supply of Necessaries. So that in that Year Letters came forth from the King, for not taking Custom of Things saleable any more, because by that Occasion, Victualis non adducuntur, in detrimentum Civitatis; as the Patent ran. But before this Year, these Kings, as well as others after them, granted Aids and Impositions upon several Commodities and Merchandizes brought into