Watches. 254


Six or Seven Hundred; and out of St. Paul's Church-Yard came about 300. From all Places they gathered together, and brake up the Counter, took out the Prisoners which had been committed thither by the Lord Maior for hurting the Strangers; also they went to Newgate, and took out Studley and Bets, committed thither for the like Cause. The Maior and Sheriffs were present, and made Proclamation in the King's Name, but nothing was obeyed.

Being thus gathered into several Heaps, they ran thorough St. Nicholas Shambles, and at St. Martins Gate there met with them Sir Thomas More, and others, desiring them to go to their Lodgings.

Sir Thomas More laboured to pacify the rude multitude.

As they were thus intreating, and had almost perswaded the People to depart, they within St. Martins threw out Stones and Bats, so that they hurt divers honest Persons which were with Sir Thomas More, perswading the rebellious Rout to cease. Insomuch as at length, one Nicholas Dennis, a Serjeant at Arms, being there sore hurt, cryed in a fury, Down with them; and then all the unruly Persons ran to the Doors and Windows of the Houses within St. Martins, and spoiled all that they found. After that they ran into Cornhill, and so on to a House East of Leadenhall, called the Green Gate, where dwelt one Mewtas, a Piccard or Frenchman, within whose House dwelled divers Frenchmen. Whom they likewise spoiled; and if they had found Mewtas, they would have stricken off his Head.

Nicholas Dennis, a Serjeant at Arms sore hurt.

Mewtas a Picard.

Some ran to Blanchapleton, and there brake up the Strangers Houses, and spoiled them. Thus they continued till three a Clock in the Morning, at which time they began to withdraw; but by the way they were taken by the Maior and other, and sent to the Tower, Newgate, and Counters, to the Number of 300.

The Strangers Houses broken up at Blanchapleton.

The Cardinal was advertised by Sir Thomas Parre, whom in all haste he sent to Richmond to inform the King; who immediately sent to understand the State of the City and was truly informed. Sir Roger Cholmeley, Lieutenant of the Tower, during the time of this Business, shot off certain Pieces of Ordnance against the City, but did no great hurt. About Five of the Clock in the Morning, the Earls of Shrewsbury, and Surrey, Thomas Dockery, Lord Prior of Saint Johns, George Nevill, Lord Abergaveny, and others, came to London with such Powers as they could make: so did the Inns of Court. But before they came the Business was done, as ye have heard.

The King sendeth to know the State of the City.

The Lords came with Power to London.

Then were the Prisoners examined, and the Sermon of Doctor Bell called to remembrance, and he sent to the Tower. A Commission of Oyer and Terminer was directed to the Duke of Norfolk, and other Lords, for punishment of this Insurrection. The Second of May, the Commissioners, with the Lord Maior, Aldermen, and Justices, went to the Guildhall, where many of the Offenders were indicted; whereupon they were Arraigned, and pleaded, Not Guilty, having Day given them till the 4th of May.

Doctor Bell sent to the Tower for his Sermon.

On which Day, the Lord Maior, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Surrey, and others, came to sit in the Guildhall. The Duke of Norfolk entred the City with one Thousand three Hundred Men, and the Prisoners were brought through the Streets tyed in Ropes; some Men, some Lads, but of Thirteen or Fourteen Years old, to the Number of 278 Persons. That Day, John Lincoln, and divers others were indicted, and the next Day Thirteen were adjudged to be Drawn, Hanged, and Quartered; for Execution whereof Ten Pair of Gallows were set up in divers Places of the City; as at Aldgate, Blanchapleton, Grassstreet, Leadenhall, before either of the Counters; at Newgate, St. Martins, at Aldersgate and Bishopsgate. And these Gallows were set upon Wheels to be re- moved from Street to Street, and from Door to Door, whereas the Prisoners were to be executed.

The Duke of Norfolke entred London with 1300 Men.

Ten Pair of Gallows set up on divers Streets of London.

On the Seventh of May John Lincolne, one Shirwin, and two Brethren, named Betts, with divers others were adjudged to dye. They were on the Hurdles drawn to the Standard in Cheape, and first was Lincolne executed; and as the other had the Ropes about their Necks, there came a Commandment from the King to respite the Execution; and then were the Prisoners sent again to Prison, and the Armed Men sent away out of the City.

John Lincolne the Broker executed, but the rest respited by the King.

On the Thirteenth of May the King came to Westminster Hall, and with him the Lord Cardinal, the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Earls of Shrewsbury, Essex, Wiltshire, and Surry, with many Lords and other of the Kings Council; the Lord Maior of London, Aldermen, and other chief Citizens were then in their best Liveries by Nine of the Clock in the Morning. Then came in the Prisoners bound in Ropes in a Rank one after another, in their Shirts, and every one had a Halter about his Neck, being in Number 400 Men, and 11 Women.

The Prisoners were brought before the King at Westminster Hall.

When they were thus come before the King's Presence, the Cardinal laid sore to the Maior and Aldermen their Negligence, and to the Prisoners he declared, how justly they had deserved to dye. Then all the Prisoners together cryed to the King for Mercy. And therewith the Lords besought his Grace of Pardon; at whose Request the King pardoned them all. The general Pardon being pronounced, all the Prisoners shouted at once, and cast their Halters towards the Roof of the Hall. The Prisoners being dismissed, the Gallows were taken down, and the Citizens took more heed to their Servants, keeping (for ever after) as on that Night, a strong Watch in Armour, in remembrance of Evil Mayday.]

The King graciously pardoned all the Prisoners.

These great Mayings and Maygames, made by the Governors and Masters of this City, with the Triumphant setting up of the great Shaft (a principal May Pole in Cornhill, before the Parish Church of St. Andrew (therefore called Undershaft) by means of that Insurrection of Youths against Aliens on Mayday, 1517, the Ninth of Henry the Eight, have not been so freely used as before. And therefore I leave them, and will somewhat touch of Watches, as also of Shows in the Night.

Of WATCHES in this City, and other Matters commanded; and the Cause why.


WIlliam Conqueror commanded, that in every Town and Village, a Bell should be nightly rung at eight of the Clock, and that all People should then put out their Fire, and Candle, and take their rest. Which Order was observed through this Realm during his Reign, and the Reign of William Rufus: But Henry the first, restoring to his Subjects the Use of Fire or Lights, as afore, it followeth (by reason of Warrs within the Realm) that many Men also gave themselves to Robbery and Murders in the Night: for Example whereof in this City, Roger Hoveden writeth thus:

Curfew Bell at 8. of the Clock, commanded Fire and Candle to be quenched.

"In the Year 1175. a Council was kept at Nottingham. In Time of which Council, a Brother of the Earl Ferrers, being in the Night privily slain at London, and thrown out of his Inn into the dirty Street, when the King understood thereof, he sware, that he would be revenged on the Citizens. For it was then (saith mine Author) a common Practice in this City, that a Hundred or more in a Company, Young and Old, would make nightly Invasions upon Houses of the Wealthy, to the intent to rob them, and if they found any Man stirring in the City within the Night, that were not of "

Roger Hovenden, Manuscript.