|TOWER of London. Gentleman Porter. ||75
painfully, because he was preferred by his Lordship, whom he
loved and honoured: And descending to Particulars, he
enumerated what he had done more than other Lieutenants
Sir Owen Hopton continued Lieutenant a great while, till the Year
1590; when he delivered up to the Custody of Michael Blount, Esq;
by Indenture bearing Date July the 6th, all the Prisoners of the
Tower. He was soon after Knighted. This Gentleman was so
sensible of the Honour and Trust reposed in him, and did so value
himself for the Importance of his Place and Government, that
about the Year 1594, he had this Communication with some of his
initimate Friends in the Tower, (the Queen at that Time being
reported to be sick) That if God should call her Majesty, he held
himself bound to obey no Counsellors in general nor particular; for
that they were then no Counsellors, but private Men. But would
keep the Place, until the Successor were established according to
the Truth of his Title. And that he would permit none of the
Officers of the Ordnance to enter into the Tower, unless they
would take their Oath to take such Part as he would take. For that
the whole Charge was then in him. And for that the held divers of
the Warders to be Knaves, he would turn them forth, and call the
rest before him; and such as would not be sworn to obey him, as
by their Oath they ought to do, as he said, he would turn them
forth, and furnish the House with his own Friends. And by this
Means, and having the Munition in his own Hands, he should be
able to arm more Men than Half the Realm beside: And so be able
to strike a general Stroke, in swaying of the Matter according to
the Truth of the Title. All this did Edmond Nevyl de Latymer, Esq;
testify before the Lord Cobham and Lord Buckhurst, Two of the
Privy Council appointed to examine him. He testified also, That
the Lieutenant had often asked him his Opinion, how many Men
would serve to keep the Tower; and what Course were best to take
for the Victualling it? But these Things looking very suspiciously,
raised Jealousies in the State against him; and he was brought into
Sir Michael Blount, Lieutenant.
As for the modern State of this primary Officer of the Tower, he is
usually a Person of great Worth and Fidelity; and by virtue of his
Office, is to be in Commission of the Peace for the Counties of Kent,
Surrey and Middlesex. He is High Steward of a Court held within
the Tower. He may refuse an Habeas Corpus: He may give
Protection to all Debtors belonging to the Tower, infra Regnum
Angliæ. He hath the Privilege to take unam Lagenam, i.e. One
Flagon, that is, Two Gallons and a Pint, ante Malum & retro, i.e.
before the Mast and behind, of all Wine-Ships that come. He is to
be (as some hold) Custos Rotulorum of the County of Middlesex:
And he hath his Deputy. His Salary is 200l. per Annum. The
Perquisites belonging to him are great. His usual Fee for every
Prisoner sent to the Tower, is 20l. And 3l. a Week for an Earl; and
5l. for a Knight. For a Baron, or a Degree higher, 50l. at their
Entrance: To whom the King allows weekly 10l. Whereof Two
Parts go to the Prisoner, and the Third to the Lieutenant, for
Lodging and Diet. And 50l. to the Lieutenant, upon the Prisoner's
The present State of a Lieutenant of the
In an upper Chamber in the Lieutenant's Lodgings, is an ingenious
Device to describe the Gunpowder Treason Plot, set up about that
Time by Sir William Wade, Lieutenant of the Tower. The
Monument consisteth of several Pieces of Marble, in Fashion
round, inlay'd with Inscriptions on them; in the Middle whereof is
a larger Stone. On the Extremities, several Coats of
Arms of the Chief Nobility, as of Howard, Cecil, &c. It is scarcely
legible, the Inscription being almost worn out. In the same Room,
is a fine lively Figure of the foresaid King, with his Hat on, and, as
it seems, very much resembling him.
A Room in the Lieutenant's Lodgings.
A Third Chief Officer of the Tower, is the Gentleman Porter: Who
holds his Place by Patent; and at the Entrance of any Prisoner,
hath for his Fee Vesitmenta Superiora, i.e. their upper Garments;
or else a Composition is made for the same.
I find this Office as ancient as the Times of King Edward the Third,
and how much ancienter I cannot tell. For in the Tower Records,
Mention is made in that King's Reign, Custod. Portæ ejusdem
[i.e. Turris] concess. Jo. de London; that is, of the Custody of the
Tower Gate, granted to Jo. de London.
John de London in Edw. IIId's Time.
In the Reign of K. Edward VI. Henry Web was Gentleman Porter.
There were Four in the Reign of Q. Elizabeth; whose Names were,
Mr. Chamberlain, (first, Porter under Queen Mary,) whose Deputy
one Christopher Southows seemed to be. Next to him, Sir William
Gorge, Mr. Shelton, and lastly, Mr. Worthington.
Names of the Gentlemen Porters.
This Officer, among the rest of the Benefits of his Place in former
Times, had allowed him yearly out of the King's Wardrobe, broad
Cloth for a watching Gown; and so had the other Yeomen: As
appears by this Extract out of King Edward's Book of Warrants:
"A Warrant to Sir Rafe Sadler, Knight,"
[He was Master of the
"to deliver to Henry Web, Porter of the Tower
of London, and to Fourteen Yeomen of the Chamber attending
there, and to every of them, Five Yards of broad Cloth, of London
Russet, at 4s. 1d. the Yard, for their watching Gowns."
This Officer had allowed him a watching
This Officer seemed to have a Right to the Benefit of the Ground
within the Liberties of the Tower. For in Queen Elizabeth's Reign,
he received Rents for many Edifices standing thereon. Concerning
which there happened a Controversy between the Tenants and the
Gentleman Porter. For we must know, that between the Years
1570 and 1580, (if I mistake not) many Houses and Tenements
were built within the Liberties, some at the Postern Gate, some
within the Bulwark, some without it, and others on Tower Wharf;
where formerly were small Shops, and Parcels of Ground enclosed.
So that within the Space of Ten Years, were Forty Houses, or more,
built; besides divers other Yards and Enclosures. For the pulling
down which Yards, and laying open the Enclosures, an Order came
from the Council. The Chief Landlord of these Tenements was the
Gentleman Porter; who about this Year, viz. 1580, was Sir William
Gorge: Between whom and some of the Builders, Agreement was
made; They to allow him, besides Fines, certain Considerations
yearly, in Lieu of Rent. But at length Gorge being dead, and
another (by Name, Mr. Worthington) succeeding in his Place, he
required the Tenants to remove, or to come to new Terms with
him: And so many of them did, rather than turn out.
Claimed the Benefit of the Ground in the Tower
Buildings within the Liberties.
But the Builders and Petty Landlords found themselves aggrieved
hereat: For the Porter came upon the Occupiers, and took no notice
of them: Whereupon, in the Year 1587, they made a Complaint to
the Lord Treasurer against him;
"That they had builded sundry
Tenements upon noisome Places, in the Liberties of the Tower, to
their great Charge: But the present Gentleman Porter, contrary to
former Usage, had required them to depart, either to drive the
Petitioners to change their Habitations, "
Complaint by the Petty Landlords against the