Portsoken Ward. Abby of Graces. 13

Portsoken Ward. Abby of Graces.

" dowed, freely conferred it upon the said Priory and Convent. That it was confirmed by Kings afterwards. And some Bishops of London, with the Consent of the Chapter, had granted the same to the Prior and Convent. And some Archbishops of Canterbury had confirmed the Collation and Donation of the said Place. That the Friars in that Hospital took their Profession, Habit, and Manner of Living, according to the Rule of St. Augustin, and promised by an Oath given upon this to live under Obedience to them, and fully to answer to them, as well in Temporals as Spirituals. But that a Bishop of London at that time had spoiled them of the foresaid Hospital, and the Rights of it, and permitted not the Friars to yield Canonical and due Obedience to them. The Pope therefore commanded the said Prior and Convent by his Apostolick Letter to require the said Bishop to restore to them their Privileges in the said Hospital."

The same Year the Pope directed a Bull to the Queen of England, who had also deprived the said Priory and Convent of the said Hospital; not suffering those of that Hospital to give their due and Canonical Obedience to them, and for which they had interceded with him: Wherefore he sent her his Bull in their Behalf; since for an hundred Years the said Hospital belonged to them, &c.

And so return we back again to our Review of the Places in this Ward, not yet taken notice of.]

On the East, and by North of the Tower, lye East Smithfield and Tower Hill, two Plots of Ground so called, without the Wall of the City. And East from them both was sometime a Monastery called New Abby, [and the Abby of Graces] founded by King Edward III. in the Year 1359. upon occasion as followeth,

New Abby on East Smithfield.

In the Year 1348. 23 Edward III. the first great Pestilence in his Time began, and encreased so sore, that for want of Room in Church Yards to bury the Dead of the City, and of the Suburbs, one John Corey, Clerk, procured of Nicholas, Prior of the Holy Trinity within Ealdgate, one Toft of Ground near unto East Smithfield, for the Burial of them that died, with Condition that it might be called the Church Yard of the Holy Trinity. Which Ground he caused, by the Aid of divers devout Citizens, to be enclosed with a Wall of Stone. Robert Elsing, Son of William Elsing, gave five Pounds thereunto; and the same was dedicated by Ralph Stratford, Bishop of London, where innumerable Bodies of the Dead were afterward buried, and a Chapel built in the same Place, to the Honour of God: To the which King Edward setting his Eye (having before in a Tempest on the Sea, and Peril of drowning, made a Vow to build a Monastery to the Honour of God, and our Lady of Grace, if God would grant him Grace to come safe to Land) builded there a Monastery, placing an Abbot, and Monks of the Cistercian, or White Order. The Bounds of this Plot of Ground, together with a Decree for Tythes thereof, are expressed in the Charter; the Effect whereof I have set down in another Place, and have to shew.

Founded by K. Edw. III. Burial for the Dead, prepared in Time of Pestilence.

Causing it to be named Eastminster.

This Abbey of St. Mary of Graces had a Charter from K. Edward III. in the 25th of his Reign: And another Occasion of the Foundation seems to appear thence.

The Occasion of Founding this Abby of Graces.

J. S.

" Rex dilectis sibi in Christo Abbati & Conventui de Bello loco Regis, Salutem. Quia ad invocationem omnipotentis Dei, & Domini Jesu Christi ac gloriosissime matris suæ MARIE, pluries tam in terra quam in mari, in bellis & in periculis aliis, sensimus nos adjutos, Volentes provide in memoriam Graciarum hujusmodi, cultum ipsius Dei & genetricis suæ, &c." The Substance of which Record is, That the King founded this House in Remembrance and Acknowledgment of the Goodness of Almighty God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the blessed Virgin MARY; whom he had often called upon, and found helpful to him by Sea and by Land, in Wars, and other Perils: And therefore ordered this House to be called, The King's Free Chapel of the blessed Virgin OF GRACES, in memoriam Gratiarum, i.e. in Memory of these Graces, or Favours, which he had received from her. Therefore, the more amply to dilate the Worship of the said God, and his Mother, he now began to found and endow this Free Chapel of the Cistercian Order, as a filial House to be subject to the Monastery of Beaulieu of the same King's founding; and appointed the Abbot, and his Successors, yearly to visit it, or as Need should require, and duly to correct what should require the Line of Correction. He ordered the said Abbot to send some of his fellow Monks of his Convent, to serve God and the blessed Virgin in the said Chapel, under the regular Observance of the said Order. And he appointed Walter de Sta Cruce, i.e. Holy Cross, to be the first President of the said Chapel; whom he enjoined kindly to receive and treat the said Religious, that were to profess Religion at the said Free Chapel.

Record. Turr. 25 E. 3. M. 34.

By a Patent of 19 R. II. it appears that there belonged to this Monastery of St. Mary de Graciis the Manour of Gravesend, and several other Manours in Kent; also Rents in Woolwich, and the Manour of Popeler: And by a Patent 1 H. IV. it had divers Manours in the Counties of Devon and Cornwal, and Somerset.

Manours belonging to this Abby.

J. S.

Joan Hull, wife of Stephen Hull, Citizen and Pannarius [Draper] Lond. by her Will, dated Jan. 1425. gave a Tenement called Blackleste in the Parish of St. Bennet Fink, London, for ever, to John, Abbot of the Monastery of St. Mary de Graciis of the Cistercian Order; and the Convent of the same to pray for her Soul.]

The Abby of Graces, Regist. Ep. Lon. Edw. Alexander.

This House, at the late general Suppression, was valued at 546.l. 10.d. yearly; it was surrendred in the Year 1539. 30 Henry VIII. Since the which Time, the said Monastery being clean pulled down by Sir Arthur Darcy Knt. and others; of late time, (in place thereof) is builded a large Storehouse for Victuals. And convenient Ovens are builded there, for baking of Bisket to serve her Majesty's Ships: The Grounds adjoining, and belonging to the said Abbey, are employed in building of small Tenements.

The King's Storehouse.

K. Henry III. in the 13th of his Reign granted, that a Fair should be held at East Smithfield for 15 Days; viz. from the Eve of Pentecost to the Octaves of Trinity: And the said King sent his Briefs to the several Sheriffs of Lincoln, Gloucester, Kent, Worcester, York, Norfolk and Suffolk, and to the Maior and Sheriffs of London to proclaim the same. Et ideo tibi precipimus; quod predict. feriam &c. i.e. "And therefore we command you, that you cause to be proclaimed the beforesaid Fair throughout the whole Bailiffwick, as is aforesaid: Causing all Merchants of your Bailiffwick to know, that they may securely come to the Fair. Witness the King at Westminster the 8th Day of February."

East Smithfield Fair.

J. S.

And 30 E. III. there was a Grant to the Master, Brethren, and Chaplains, and Sisters of St. Katharines, that they, for ever, shall have one Fair upon Tower Hill [now called Little Tower Hill] over against the Abbey of St. Mary Graces; that large Ground in all Place there: There was also a Charter for this 20 Hen. VI.]

For Tower Hill, as the same is greatly diminished, by building of Tenements and Garden

Tower Hill.