Portsoken Ward. Houndsditch. 23

Portsoken Ward. Houndsditch.

So much for the Outside of the Gate, with the two Roman Coins before remembred.

Westward, or within, highest of all, standeth Fortune, ingeniously carved and guilded, standing upon her Globe, or Mound, with her Sail spreading over her Head, and looking with a graceful and auspicious Countenance upon the City.



Beneath her, in a large Square, are placed the King's Arms, richly wrought and engraven, bearing the Motto,


And a little lower,


Somewhat lower, and to grace each Side of the Gate, are set two feminine Personages, the one Southward, appearing to be Peace, with a silver Dove upon her one Hand, and a guilded Wreath or Garland in the other. On the North Side standeth Charity, with a Child at her Breast, and another led in her hand: Implying (as I conceive) that where Peace, and Love, or Charity, do prosper, and are truly embraced, that City shall be for ever blessed.



Over the Arch of the Gate is thus fairly engraven:

Senatus Populusq; Londinens. secit, 1609.

And underneath,


The Charge of this Gate in Building was reputed to amount to 4000l. and upwards.

Over the Postern of this Gate, where the People pass on Foot, is this Inscription: This Postern was made at the Care and Cost of the honourable City of London in the Maioralty of Sir Anthony Bateman, Anno Dom. 1663.]

J. S.

From Aldgate North West to Bishopsgate lyeth the Ditch of the City, in that Part called Houndsditch, because that in old time, when the same lay open, much Filth (conveyed forth of the City, especially dead Dogs) was there laid or cast.


Into this filthy Ditch King Canutus commanded Edrick, a noble Saxon, who had basely slain his King and Lord Edmund Ironside, to be drawn by the Heels from Bainards Castle through the City, and cast in there, after he had first been tormented to Death by lighted Torches. Rich. of Ciciter.]

Edrick for Treachery thrown into this Ditch.

J. S.

Of later Time a Mud Wall was made, enclosing the Ditch, to keep out the laying of such Filth as had been accustomed.

A Mud Wall against Houndsditch.

Over against this mud Wall, on the other Side of the Street, was a fair Field, sometime belonging to the Priory of the Trinity, and since, by Sir Tho. Awdley, given to Magdalen College in Cambridge.

A Field on the East Side.

This Ground contained a Messuage, a Dove House, and a Garden of about seven Acres. There was also adjoining to this Garden a great Gate, and a Building over, and a Street or Lane leading from Houndsditch thither. For all this Sir Tho. Audley obtained of King Henry special Letters Patents, dated March 23. in the 25th of his Reign, as belonging to the Priory, to this Tenor:

A Messuage and seven Acres in Houndsditch.

J. S.

Henricus Octavus Dei gratia, &c. Omnibus ad quos, &c. Sciatis quod nos, &c. Dedidmus & concessimus, &c. i.e. "Know ye, that we have given and granted to the said Thomas, one Messuage, one Dovecoat, and one Garden or Parcel of Land, with the Appurtenances, containing by Estimation seven Acres of Land, whether more or less, as they lay and are in the Parish of St. Botolph without Aldgate, London, viz. Between a certain Street or Lane, called Hog Lane on one part, and divers Messuages by the King's High Way, called Houndsditch, adjoining and built on the other part. He gave also and granted to the said Thomas a certain great Gate, with an Edifice built upon it, and adjacent; and a certain Street or Lane, extending from the aforesaid King's High Way called Houndsditch, to, in and as far as the said Garden or Parcel of Land, containing seven Acres; withal Edifices, Walls, Ditches and Closes, in and about the said Garden, or Parcel of the Lands there being: Which Messuage, Dovecoat, Garden, Gate, Street or Lane, and the other Premisses, with their Appurtenances, lately belonged to the Prior and Convent of the Monastery or Priory of the Holy Trinity, London, by the Right of that Monastery; and which, among others, is come to our Hands by the Authority of Parliament, as well on the account of the Gift of Nicholas Hancock, late Prior, as on the account of the Dissolution of the said Monastery."

Ex MSS. Dris. Kennet. nunc D. Episc. Petriburg.

The next Year, that is, the 26th of the King's Reign, the same Sir Thomas Audley obtained of the King other Letters Patents, dated Decemb. 29. Wherein, among other Gifts, he granted him Licence to give and grant lawfully the said Messuage, Dove House and Garden, to Henry Parker Knt. Tho. Barnardiston Kt. John Christmas Esq; Tho. Pope, Arthur Clerk, and Tho. Spilman, Gentlemen. Yet is seems these Persons possessed not the Premisses, at least not the Garden of seven Acres, since Mr. Stow (as above) writeth, that Sir Tho. Audley gave it ro Magdalen College, of which he was Founder.]

This Field (as all other about the City) was enclosed, reserving open Passage thereinto for such as were disposed. Towards the Street were some small Cottages, of two Stories high, and little Garden Plots backward, for poor bedrid People, (for in that Street dwelt none other) builded by some Prior of the Holy Trinity, to whom that Ground belonged.

In my Youth, I remember, devout People, as well Men as Women of the City, were accustomed oftentimes (especially on Fridays weekly, to walk that way purposely, and there to bestow their charitable Alms, every poor Man or Woman lying in their Bed within their Window, which was towards the Street open so low, that every Man might see them; a clean linen Cloth lying in their Window, and a Pair of Beads; to shew that there lay a bedrid Body, unable but to pray only: This Street was first paved in the Year 1503.

Bedrid People in Houndsditch.

About the latter end of the Reign of King Hen. 8. three Brethren that were Gun Founders, sirnamed Owens, gat Ground there to build upon, and to enclose for casting of brass Ordnance. These occupied a good Part of the Street on the Field side, and in short time divers others also builded there; so that the poor bedrid People were worn out, and in place of their homely Cottages, such Houses builded as do rather want Room than Rent. [Which Houses be for the most part possessed by Brokers, Sellers of old Apparel, and such like.] The Residue of the Field was for the most part made into a Garden, by a Gardiner named Cawsway, one that served the Markets with Herbs and Roots. And in the last Year of King Edward VI. the same was parcelled into Gardens, wherein are now many fair Houses of Pleasure builded.

Brass Ordnance cast in Houndsditch by the Owens.

But as it is fatal to the Suburbs of every great City to be infected with some foul and unclean Birds, that there build their Nests, although not

A Matter greatly deserving Reformation in Houndsditch.

A. M.