Tower of LONDON. Office of Ordnance. 106

Tower of LONDON. Office of Ordnance.

Proof-Masters, Two; John Blake, and John Allen. An ancient Office, and a great deal of Business belonging to it.

Waggon-Master, Charles Ball.

Inferior Clerks, and Gunners, many. An Hundred and twenty Gunners established in Time of War: But in Peace, Half that Number.

Chief Bombardier, Col. Geo. Brown.

Chief Petardier, John Fawcet.

Astronomical Observator, John Flamsted. He hath a Hundred Pound yearly paid him out of this Office.

Besides all these, there be Three other Offices very necessary and important, and in former Times settled and granted by Patent; tho' not so now; viz. those of the Tower Smith, Carpenter and Mason: Whereof I have read some Passages in the Records.

Officium Magistri Fabri, cum duob. Mess. super Wharfham ibidem, & quodam Parcell. Terr. infra Palac. Westmon. eid. Officio pertin. concess. S. Clampard. 24 H. VI. i.e. The Office of Master Smith, with Two Messuages upon Wharfham there, (whether that Place were Tower Wharf, or some Place within the Tower, next the Wharf, I cannot tell) and a certain Parcel of Land within the Palace of Westminster, belonging to the said Office, granted to S. Clampard in the 24th Year of K. Henry VI.

Master Smith.

King Edward I. in the first Year of his Reign, appointed the Tower Smith to have 4 ½d. a Day for his Wages: And moreover, in a Schedule hanging to the Patent, de Gardinariis Regis capit 3d. per Diem: i.e. 3d. a Day more from the King's Gardiners, (shall we say?) or rather, the King's Warders, or Guards, who were commonly stiled Gardeyns; Officers belonging to the Tower.

His Fee.

You shall have the Chief Smith, the Mason and Carpenter, all in one Patent of King Edward the IIId. Magister Wil. de Ramesey assignat. Capital. Cementarius Reg. ibidem, & Capital. Supervisor omnium Operum Reg. in omnibus Castris Reg. citra Trentam, percipiend. per annum unam Robam, & xijd. per Diem ad Scaccarium. Et de eod. modo pro Magistro Willielmo Hurle, quod sit Capital. Carpentarius, &c. ut supra; & Walt. Le Fevre, Capital. Fabr. 10 E. III. i.e. Mr. William de Ramesey is appointed Chief Mason of the King there, [at the Tower] and Chief Overseer of all the King's Works in all his Castles on this side Trent; taking yearly one Robe, and 12d. a Day at the Exchequer. And after the same manner for Mr. William Hurle, that he be Chief Carpenter, &c. as before; and Walter Le Fevre Chief Smith; in the 10th of K. Edward III.

Chief Smith, Mason, and Carpenter of the Tower; with their Fees.

But before we pass hence, it will not be amiss to make some Observation of these Offices and Officers, as they stood in Q. Elizabeth's Time; and what Inspections were made of them, and Orders given concerning them in that careful Government.

These Offices and Officers in Q. Elizabeth's Reign.

About the Year 1584, (or perhaps somewhat later) Commissioners were appointed for the Surveying of the Office of the Ordnance. The Commissioners were, Lord Burghley, Lord Treasurer; the Earl of Warwick, Master of the Ordnance; Sir Francis Knollys, Treasurer of the Houshold; Sir Christopher Hatton, Vicechamberlain; Sir Walter Midlmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Sir Owen Hopton, Lieutenant of the Tower; John Hawkyns, Treasurer of the Admiralty; William Dodington, and John Conyers, Auditors of the Prests; William Borough, Clerk of the Ships.

A Commission to survey the Office of the Ordnance.

Chart. D. Thesaur, Burghl.

The Substance of their Commission was this: Auctoritie was given to them, or to any Three, (whereof one of the Two Auditors to be one) both to consider of the Remain, that was left upon the last Survey, taken the 17th Day of February, in the Tenth Year of her Majesty, as of the Provisions since that Time made: And thereupon to consider, how the same Provisions, &c. have been delivered and expended, and by what Warrant or Order.

The Substance of their Commission.

Item, To make a perfect Survey of all the Ordnance that are remaining in the Charge of the Officers of the Ordnance; And the same to deliver in Charge to those Officers to whom the Custody thereof belongeth, by such Book or Books, as to the said Commissioners shall be thought meet: To the end they may yearly account as well for the Store presently remaining, as hereafter to be provided.

Item, Auctoritie is given to any Four of the said Commissioners, (whereof the Lord Treasurer to be one) upon such Survey taken, to make Allowance and Determination of all Accompts and Charges: Which shall be a good Exoneration and Discharge for the said Officers, against her Majesty, her Heirs, &c.

Item, To set down such Orders in Writing, as they shall think meet, for the better ordering of the said Office; as well for the Receiving and Issuing of any Provisions, as for the Abridging of any extraordinary and superfluous Charges and Allowances, as to establish any former or new Allowances for her Majesty's better Service herein.

Item, To cause such Things as have been lent out of the said Office, (by Warrant or otherwise) to be restored, or Money to be answered to the Lieutenant to the Value of the same: And the same to be put in Charge with the said Officers.

Item, To appoint such Persons as they shall think meet, to survey, and take a Note of all her Majesty's Ordnance, &c. remaining in any Castle or Blockhouse; and the broken and unserviceable to exchange or repair, as they shall see Cause.

Item, Auctoritie is given to any of the said Commissioners, (whereof the Lord Treasurer to be one) by Bill subscribed by their Hand, to gain Allowance for the Travel and Pains of any Person used in that Service, or any otherwise; touching the Execution of this Commission, to be paid by the Lieutenant of the Ordnance: Which Bills so subscribed, shall be allowed him upon his Account.

Now let us look back as far as we can upon the first Officers, and the Fees then settled upon them; and what Assistants they then had.

The first Officers, and their ancient Fees.

In this great Trust, the Master of the Ordnance was the Chief and Head: Who, in Queen Elizabeth's Reign, was the High born Ambrose, Earl of Warwick, a brave and true Nobleman, and right valiant. Under him were several other Officers, made by Letters Patents, and their Salaries payable out of the Exchequer: Viz.

Master of the Ordnance.

The Lieutenant of the Ordnance. The first Lieutenant was Sir Christopher Morrice; who was made by King Henry the VIIIth, Anno Regni 36. The Fee then assigned to this Officer, was 56l. 13s. 4d. Bromfield was in this Office in the Fifth of Queen Elizabeth: Sir Robert Constable, and Sir William Pelham, Anno 1588. Sir George Carew, Anno 1593.


Next was the Surveyor of the Ordnance. The first Surveyor was Henry Johnson, constituted by King Henry the VIIIth, in the 34th Year of his Reign. His Fee then assigned, was 36l. 10s. at 2s. by the Day. Randolph was in this Place Anno Elizab. 8. Afterwards John Powel. Then William Parthridge.