Strype, Survey of London(1720), [online] (hriOnline, Sheffield). Available from:
http://localhost:8080/strype/TransformServlet?book1_063[Accessed ]

© hriOnline, 2007
The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY


Towers and Castles. Bridewell, Barbican, &c.63

Towers and Castles. Bridewell, Barbican, &c.

For I read, that in the Year 1087. the 20th of William the First, the City of London, with the Church of S. Paul being burned, Mauritius then Bishop of London, afterward began the Foundation of a New Church, whereunto King William (saith mine Author) gave the choice Stones of this Castle, standing near to the Bank of the River of Thames, at the West End of the City. After this Mauritius, Richard his Successor purchased the Streets above Paul's Church, compassing the same with a Wall of Stone, and Gates. King Henry the First gave to this Richard, so much of the Moat or Wall of the Castle, on the Thames side to the South, as should be needful to make the said Wall of the Churchyard, and so much more as should suffice to make a way without the Wall on the North side, &c.

In Vita Arkenwald.

This Tower or Castle being thus destroyed, stood, as it may seem, in Place where now standeth the House called Bridewell. For notwithstanding the Destruction of the said Castle or Tower, the House remained large, so that the Kings of this Realm long after were lodged there, and kept their Courts. For in the Ninth Year of Henry the Third, the Courts of Law and Justice were kept in the King's House, wheresoever he was lodged, and not elsewhere. And that the Kings have been lodged, and kept their Law Courts in this Place, I could shew you many Authorities of Record; but for a plain Proof, this one may suffice: Hæc est finalis Concordia, facta in Curia Dom. Regis apud Sanct. Brigid. Lond. à Die Sancti Michaelis, in 15 Dies, Anno Regni Regis Johannis septimo; Coram G. Fil. Petri, Eustacio de Fauconberg, Johanne de Gestlinge, Osbart Filio Hervey, Walter de Crisping, Justiciar. & aliis Baronibus Domini Regis.

Situate near Bridewell.

The King's House by S. Brides in Fleetstreet.

Lib. Burton super Trent.

More, (as Matthew Paris hath) about the Year 1210, King John, in the Twelfth Year of his Reign, summoned a Parliament at S. Brides in London; where he exacted of the Clergy, and Religious Persons, the Sum of One Hundred Thousand Pounds: And besides all this, the White Monks were compelled to cancel their Privileges, and to pay 40000l. to the King, &c. This House of S. Brides (of later Time) being left, and not used by the Kings, fell to Ruin; insomuch that the very Platform thereof remained (for great part) waste, and as it were, but a Lay-stall of Filth and Rubbish, only a fair Well remained there. A great Part whereof, namely on the West, as hath been said, was given to the Bishop of Salisbury; the other Part toward the East remained waste, until King Henry the Eighth builded a stately and beautiful House thereupon, giving it to Name Bridewell, of the Parish and Well there. This House he purposely builded for the Entertainment of the Emperor Charles the Fifth; who in the Year 1522 came into this City, as I have shewed in my Summary, Annals, and large Chronicles.

Mat. Paris. Manuscript.

Parliament at S. Brides.

Bridewell builded by K. Henry VIII.

The Tower of Barbican.


On the North West side of this City, near unto Redcross Street, there was a Tower, commonly called Barbican, or Burhkenning; for that the same, being placed on an high Ground, and also builded of some good Height, was (in old Time) used as a Watch Tower for the City; from whence a Man might behold and view the whole City towards the South, and also see into Kent, Sussex and Surrey, and likewise every other way, East, North, or West.

Barbican or Burhkenning.

Other Watch Towers.


Some other Burhkennings or Watch Towers there were of old Time, in and about the City, all which were repaired, yea, and others new builded by Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Glocester, in the Reign of King Henry the Third, when the Barons were in Arms, and held the City against the King. But the Barons being reconciled to his Favour, in the Year 1267, he caused all their Burhkennings, Watch Towers, and Bulwarks, made and repaired by the said Earl, to be plucked down, and the Ditches to be filled up, so that nought of them might be seen to remain. And then was this Burhkenning, amongst the rest, overthrown and destroyed; and altho' the Ditch near thereunto, called Houndsditch, was stopped up, yet the Street (of long Time after) was called Houndsditch, and of late Time (more commonly) called Barbican. The Plot or Seat of this Burhkenning, or Watch Tower, King Edward III. in the Year 1336, and the Tenth of his Reign, gave unto Robert Efford, [or Ufford] Earl of Suffolk, by the Name of his Manor of Base Court, in the Parish of S. Giles without Cripplegate, of London, commonly called the Barbican.

Burhkennings, or Watch-Towers in the City.

The Destruction of the Barbican.

Tower Royal.


Tower Royal was of old time the King's House; King Stephen was there lodged; but since called the Queen's Wardrobe. The Princess, Mother to King Richard the Second, in the Fourth Year of his Reign, was lodged there; being forced to fly from the Tower of London, when the Rebels possessed it. But on the 15th of June, (saith Frosard) Wat Tyler being slain, the King went to this Lady Princess his Mother, then lodged in the Tower Royal, called the Queen's Wardrobe; where she had tarried two Days and two Nights: Which Tower (saith the Record of Edward the Third, the Thirty sixth Year) was in the Parish of S. Michael de Pater noster, &c.

Tower Royal.

Joh. Frosard.

In the Year 1386, King Richard, with Queen Anne his Wife, kept their Christmas at Eltham; whither came to him Lion King of Ermony, under Pretence to reform Peace betwixt the Kings of England and France. But what his Coming profited, he only understood. For, besides innumerable Gifts that he received of the King, and of the Nobles, the King lying then in this Tower Royal, at the Queen's Wardrobe in London, granted to him a Charter of a Thousand Pounds by Year, during his Life. He was, as he affirmed, chased out of his Kingdom by the Tartarians. The rest concerning this Tower shall you read, when you come to the Vintry Ward, in which it standeth.

Lib. S. in Eborum.

The King of Ermony came into England.

Richard II. lodged in the Tower Royal.

Serne's Tower.


Serne's Tower, in Bucklersbury, was sometimes the King's House. Edward the Third, in the Eighteenth Year of his Reign, appointed his Exchange of Monies therein to be kept; and in the Two and thirtieth, he gave the same Tower to his free Chapel of S. Stephen at Westminster.

Serne's Tower in Bucklersbury.


© hriOnline, 2007
The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY