The Bridges of LONDON. Other Bridges. 58

The Bridges of LONDON. Other Bridges.

the Mill which should stand nearest unto the Stone work of the Bridge should be twelve Foot off from any Part of the Bridge. And because the City should have a special Care for the Preservation of the River, before the Work was taken in Hand, there was good Consultation had touching this Point by the Magistrates, who called unto them divers grave and expert Men in Water Works, that took a careful View and Consideraation of the whole Work, and found the same nothing hurtful to the Bridge nor the River. And for further Tryal, there were also certain wise and discreet Persons, viz. the Master of the Requests, Mr. Fanshaw, and others, appointed as Commissioners, to make Enquiry, whether the same might be hurtful to the Bridge or no; who calling before them the Masters of Trinity House, and the Eight Masters of the Watermen, with others of best Experience in these Matters, found the same to be nothing hurtful to the Bridge nor River in any respect: and so made their Report.

The Profit of these Mills was, that whereas in time of Dearth the common People could not have any Corn ground under four, five, or six Pence the Bushel, and many times could not have it ground at all in a long Space, (by means whereof People were constrained to buy Meal in the Market at such Prices as the Seller himself would) this would be remedied by the Use of these Mills. Also the Badgers or Meal Sellers, enhaunced the Prices as they listed; which could not be remedied, but by good Provision of Corn made by the Citizens, and sold in the Market, as Experience had shewed.

The Benefit thereof.

The two Arches next London are now stopt up for the Use of the Water Mills; but without any Prejudice to the Current of the Thames. The Third Arch on Southwark side is seldom and very rarely passed through, because of a Rock grown there a little to the East, which is visible at low Water. This Rock hath been observed this many a Year; therefore this Arch is called The Rock Lock. Two of these Arches are much larger than the rest; viz. That over which is the Draw Bridge; and the other called the Simile Lock. These were for the Use of greater Vessels, that went through Bridge, Westward. The Drawbridge formerly was upon such Occasions taken up; but now a-Days never, but when it wants Repairing. The Reparation of these Arches, and the striking down Piles for securing them, is continual, and Men are kept on Purpose to take care of it, and to do it. Whereof they have two Master Workmen; viz. a Head Carpenter, whose Name is Wise, if he be yet living; and a Head Mason; whose Office it is to look after the Bridge, under the Bridge Masters.]

Two Arches employed for the Water Mills.

A Rock under one Arch.


Of other Bridges in this City.


In old Time there were divers Bridges over several Rivers, Boorns, and Brooks, which ran through several Streets and Places of this City; of which some are yet remaining; but the most taken down, when the River or Brook was stopped up.

Fleet Bridge in the West without Ludgate: A Bridge of Stone fair Coped on either side with Iron Pikes: On the West toward the South, be also certain Lanthorns of Stone, for Lights to be placed in Winter Evenings for Commodity of Travellers. Under this Bridge runneth a Water called (as I have said) The River of the Wells, since Turn Mill Brook, now Fleet Dike, because it runneth by the Fleet, and sometime about the Fleet, and so under Fleet Bridge into the River of Thames. This Bridge was far greater in Times past; but hath been lessened as the Water Course hath been narrowed.

Fleet Bridge.

Since the Rebuilding of London it appears a fair Stone Bridge, being the Breadth of the Street for the Conveniency of Coaches and Carts; and contrived also for the safe passing of those that walk on Foot, it being so great a Thorowfare. The Sides are raised above Breast high, and thereon the City Arms engraven with their Supporters. Under this Bridge goes the Canal (as it is now called) as far as Holborn Bridge, where a little Water called Turn Mill Brook falleth in, and emptieth it self into the Thames. On this fair Canal stand two other Bridges of free Stone, on each Hand of Fleet Bridge, with a comely high Arch that Vessels may pass under, being ascended by several Stone Steps: One of these Bridges being opposite to Bridewell; and the other to Fleet Lane, near the Fleet Prison.]

Canute comes to the Bridge.

R. B.

It seemeth, this last Bridge to have been made or repaired at the Charges of John Wells, Maior, in the Year 1431; for on the Coping was ingraved, Wells embraced by Angels, like as on the Standard in Cheape, which he also Builded. Thus much of the Bridge; for of the Water Course and Decay thereof, I have spoken in another Place.

Oldborne Bridge, over the said River of the Wells more towards the North, was so called, of a Bourne that sometimes ran down Oldborn Hill into the said River. This Bridge of Stone, like as Fleet Bridge; from Ludgate, West, serveth for Passengers, with Carriage or otherwise, from Newgate toward the West and by North.

Oldborne Bridge.

Cowbridge, more North over the same Water, by Cowbridge Street, or Cow Lane; this Bridge being lately decayed, another of Timber is made somewhat more North, by Chick Lane, &c.

Cow Bridge.

Bridges over the Town Ditch there are divers: to wit, without Aldgate, without Bishopsgate; the Postern called Moregate; the Postern of Creplegate, without Aldersgate, the Postern of Christ's Hospital, Newgate and Ludgate; all these be overpaved Level with the Streets. But one other there is of Timber over the River of Wells, or Fleet Dike, between the Precinct of the Black Friars, and the House of Bridewell.

Bridges over the Town Ditch.

There have been of old time also, divers Bridges in sundry Places over the Course of Walbrooke. I read, that every Person having Lands on either side of the said Walbrooke, should Vault, or Bridge, and mend the same, so far as their Lands extended.

Bridges over the Course of Walbrooke.

More, in the Eleventh of Edward the Third, the Inhabitants upon the Course of this Brooke, were forced to Pile and Wall the Sides thereof.

Also, that in the Third of Henry the Fifth, this Water Course having had many Bridges, as ye have heard, I have read of one by the Name of Horse-shoe Bridge, by the Church of St. John Baptist, now called S. Johns upon Walbroke, which hath been since Vaulted over with Brick; and the Streets and Lanes where through it passed, so Paved, that the same Water Course or Brook is now hardly discerned. Order was taken in the Second of Edward the Fourth, that such Persons as had any Ground on either Side of Walbrooke, should Vault and Pave it over, so far as his Ground extended. And of all these Bridges there is none remain but Four, and these are all over the Canal, viz. Bridewell Bridge, Fleet Bridge, Fleet Bridge Lane, and Holborn Bridge. And thus much for the Bridges.

Horseshoe Bridge now Vaulted over and Paved.