TOWER of London. The Liberties. 65

TOWER of London. The Liberties.
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Sir Thomas Overbury, who was poisoned in a Chamber in the Tower, on the West Part of that old Wall. And therefore Weston, the principal Murtherer, was tried before Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer in London; and so was Sir Gervase Elways, Lieutenant of the Tower, as accessary.

And here it will be proper to take some View of the Liberties; that is, of some certain Extent of Ground bordering upon the Tower; to which was annexed a peculiar Liberty, viz. to be subject to no Jurisdiction but that of the Tower it self. This, being upon the Confines of the City, hath occasioned sometimes great Difference between the Tower-Officers, and the Maior and City of London. As in the Fifth of Edward IV. in the First of Q. Elizabeth, also in the Year 1585; as shall be shewn more at large in the Chapter for Towerstreet Ward. To which may be added these Contentions following.

The Liberties of the Tower.

J. S.

In East Smithfield, at Hoglane End, a Gibbet was set up, for the Execution of one R. Dod, for the Murther of one Mrs. Skinner, in her own House lying thereabout, in the Year 1580. But when the Sheriff brought the Malefactor to be hanged, Sir Owen Hopton, then Lieutenant of the Tower, commanded the Sheriffs Officers back again to the West side of a Cross, that stood there: (Which seems to have been the Mark set up for the Boundaries of the Liberties of the Tower.) And he took the Sheriff and the Malefactor into an House: Whence after a good while Stay, they all departed. The Gibbet was taken away; the Malefactor carried to Tyburn in the Afternoon, and executed there. Thus did the Tower contend with the City, about their Right to the Confines of the Tower. This Hollingshed relates from Stow's Chronicle.

The Lieutenant of the Tower will not suffer a Malefactor to be executed in East Smithfield.

In the Year 1589, one John Cox, a Limeman, attempted the Building of a Wharf into the Thames at the Watergate, situate about the West End of the Tower Wharf; and had set up his Frame. The Place was said to be within the Liberties of the City of London. But he had the Countenance of an Officer of the Tower, as he pretended. The Inconvenience of this Building was, that it was at a publick Place of Passage for the Queen's Subjects, Brewers and others, to fetch Water with Carts, and for other common Affairs. Which Wharf would have tended to the straitning of the Place, and to the great Let and Hindrance of the common Passage. Sir Richard Martin, Maior, gave Order for Stay of the Proceeding with this Building: Which nevertheless Cox would not obey. For when one from the Lord Maior commanded him to forbear his Building, he heaved up a Staff against him, to strike him; and he still proceeded. Whereat the said Maior informed the Lord Treasurer; praying, That Cox might be commanded to take away his Frame, and to surcease his said Erection. And withal he beseeched his Lordship, That whereas many times heretofore Variances had arisen between the City and the Officers of the Tower of London, touching Encroachments upon the common Soil within the Liberties of the City; which some Persons, respecting their private Profit, had supposed to appertain to the Officers of the Tower; And had therefore procured Grants from some Officers unto themselves, and so stirred Contention between the City and Mr. Lieutenant, (as was well known to his Lordship, and the Queen's Honourable Council.) And where heretofore for Stay of Troubles between the City and Mr. Lieutenant, it pleased their Lordships to give Order, That nothing should be attempted on either side, until Order should be taken for Pacification of the Controversy therein: HE therefore humbly beseeched his Lordship, to ex- tend for the City his Favour so far, that by his Means the Titles on each side might be examined, touching this, and all other Causes of Controversy, (which rested as yet undecided) to set a quiet End of Controversies for Time to come; And that all Occasions of Unkindness between the City and Mr. Lieutenant, and other the Queen's Officers of the Tower, might be taken away: As the said Maior signified, in a Letter to the Lord Treasurer.

Contentions with the City about the Liberties.

The Maior petitions the L. Treasurer to forward a quiet End thereof.

Near this Time, a dangerous Quarrel happened about the said Liberties of the Tower. For on a Sunday, the Apprentices took Occasion to make an Insurrection; and held their Rendevouz near, or within those Liberties. Thither the Lord Maior, and the Sheriffs, and their Attendants, came to them thus tumultuously met together; And, in the Hurly Burly, came it seems within the Liberties. Whereat some of the People of the Tower began to be aggrieved, as infringing their Privileges. Whereat they began to resist the Maior and his Company. But of this, as an Affront offered to him and the City, he made Complaint to the Queen and Council, against the Lieutenant, Sir Michael Blount: Who in his own Vindication, gave this Account of himself, and of what he did: Viz. That as soon as he was advertised of this Tumult, being in his Lodging in the Tower, he went forth to the Gate of the Tower, in his Doublet, and Hose and Slippers, and his little walking Staff only in his Hand; and by courteous Message, sent by one only Man, admonished the Lord Maior, That his Entring within the Liberties, bred Offence; and prayed him to remember the Liberty of the Place. And that he neither by Word, Message, nor any other Action, either commanded or consented to any Violence, to be offered to the Lord Maior, or Sheriffs, or any of their Company; but did his Endeavour in peaceable manner to appease the Tumult. That he put his own Life in Peril, in putting himself forth to repress the Disorder; and both restrained his own Servants, and her Majesty's Servants, from offering any Violence; and with his own Arms drew them, and held them within the Gates of the Tower: And was not willing, nor thought it convenient at that Time, (as it seems he was accused) to have any Question of the Liberties; but by all means suppress'd the Question and Offence growing to her Majesty's sworn Servants to the Tower, to see the Liberties infringed. The Occasion of her Majesty's Service at that time not requiring it, the Lieutenant made choice of one of her Majesty's sworn Servants, discreet, and of peaceable and quiet Condition, in all seemly and courteous manner to advertise the Lord Maior of it. Which Messenger was assaulted, and illy intreated; and such Violence as was offered, grew from the Company of the Lord Maior. And all this he offered to aver and prove, before the Lords of her Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council.

The Apprentices make an Insurrection within the Liberties.

The Maior assaulted.

The Business about the Bounds between the City and the Tower, was not yet (Anno 1591.) ended, but still depending: Yet the Lord Treasurer had promised, that he would give Order for the speeding forth a Commission, touching the deciding of the Limits. This Sir William Webb, Maior, by Letters earnestly excited him to: Which (as he said) except it were done in some convenient Time, might be a Cause of some Trouble and Dissension hereafter; when the Officers of both Places should have Occasion, according to Order, to visit their said Bounds. In this Letter, the Lord Treasurer wrote with his own Hand the Names of the Persons to whom the abovesaid Commission should be directed; viz. The Queen's Two Chief Justices, the Chief

Webb Maior sollicits the L. Treasurer about the Bounds.