[S. Martins le Grand.] Aldersgate Ward. [The Liberty.]111

[S. Martins le Grand.] Aldersgate Ward. [The Liberty.]

There was a memorable Cause tried about the Liberties, between this Collegiate Church of St. Martins, and the City of London, in the 27th of Henry VIII. which probably the former Declaration of the Abbot of Westminster refers to. The City then, by her Recorder and Council, penned and exhibited these ensuing Articles against the Sanctuary of St. Martins.

The Cause between the City and St. Martins in 27 Hen VIII.

J. S.

ARTICLES declaring for the Maior and Commonalty of London; That the Enlcosure and Chyrch of Seynt Martines le Grande, the Messuages, Houses, and Lane of Seint Martines aforesayd, be of, and in the Liberty and Jurisdiction of the said City; and that there be, nor by any lawful meane have been, any such Privileges and Immunity, the which may or ought to defend al manner of enorm Enemies of God, the Chyrch, the King, and the Realm, unpunished, as it hath been of long wrongfully accustomed. And especially to disherit our most dread Sovereign Lord, and his City and Chamber of London, of such Rights, Jurisdictions, Liberties, and free Customs, as of long time before the Foundation, and at the Foundation of the said Chyrch, and ever after, peaceably and quietly had used; and approved by divers Records, by Authority of Parliament, Letters Patents, and otherwise; as followeth.

Journ. Seym. fol 487. 27 Hen VIII.

St. Martins le Grand Rights and Privileges, p. 6.

"First, they seyen, that the said City of London is, and since the tyme of Remenbrance of Man, hath been the chief City of this Realm; and above al other Cities and Towns of the same, as wel in Honours, Liberties, and free Customs highly endowed. And the which famous City, in the time of Seint EDWARD, King, and Confessor, and long time before, always hath been of it self one hoole County, and one hoole Jurisdiction and Liberty, by the said Citizens and their Predecessors, of the King and his Progenitors holden at Farm."

"And the same Citizens then, and by al the time aforeseid, by reason of their seid Jurisdiction and Liberties, among others, have had Liberties and free Customs, to elect and make of themselves, yerely, certain principal Officers in the said City, which faithfully shudde answer the King's Terme: And immediately under him, the People of the said City, and others repairing to the same in Peace, Unity, and Justice, shudde govern after their old Laws and Customs. And also, to substitute under them other under-Oficers and Ministers, to help for the sustentation and execution of the Premisses, &c."

And before this, in the Reign of Henry VI. was this great Cause in dispute between the City and St. Martins, before several Commissioners appointed to hear it. Then the Citizens pleaded, that William the Conquereor, before the Foundation of the foresaid Church, by Authority of his Parliament, and by two Charters, which the Maior and Citizens then produced, he demised to the Citizens of London, all the said City and Sheriffwick of London, with all Appendages, &c. And so pleading inter alia, concluded thus; All and singular which the same Maior and Citizens are ready to make good, as well for the said Lord the King, as for themselves.

The Cause again in dispute in the time of Hen. VI.

Collections relating to the Privilege of the City.

It seems that there hath been some later differences about a new Door into the Liberties of the Freedom; whereupon a Court being called December 20, 1625. this Order was given out, to be enquired upon and certified.

It is ordered by the Court, that the Foreman of the Inquest, with others of the same Inquest, shall view the South Gate and Entry leading from Bladder street into this Liberty: And also a Door made Thomas Rodes in the East side of the same Entry; and make their Reports under their Hands in Writing, in Monday next after the Epiphany.

Inquest about a new Door into the Liberty of St. Martins.

"ACcording to the direction of the Order abovesaid, we whose Names are under written, being all of the Enquest sworne for this yeere, having viewed the Gate and Entry, doe find, and accordingly certifie, that Thomas Rodes, a Linnen Draper, dwelling in a House next adjoyning to the said Entry, on the East side thereof, (in part of which House Roger Wright did dwell) hath of late, without the privity or knowledge of the Inhabitants of this Liberty, taken downe, or caused to be taken downe and carried away, a paire of strong, sufficient, and serviceable Gates, in the Night time; which were, and time out of mind have bin, the common South Gate of this Liberty. And in stead thereof, hath set up a new Gate of Deale, opening all one way, viz. towards the West side; whereas the former paire of Gates or Leaves did fall open, the one towards the East side, and the other towards the West side of the said Entry. Also the said Thomas Rodes hath broken down the partition Wall on the East side of the said Entry; against which, one Leafe of the said old Gate did fall open, as aforesaid: And hath there made a new Doore (where never any was before, in the memory of a Man) of almost an Ell in breadth, out of the said Shop, into the said Entry or common Passage into this Liberty. Whereby a free and open passage is made out of the City of London, thorow the Shop of the said Rodes, into this Liberty; to the great prejudice of the Lords of the same Liberty, and to the great hinderance and damage of the Tenants and Inhabitants within the same. In witnesse whereof wee have hereunto subscribed our Names; dated the 9th Day of January, Anno Domini 1625."

Matthew Jumpar, }{ Edward Napper,
William Hewes, }{ Thomas Speare,
William Hewes, }{ Henry Knevet,
Richard Mattock }{ William Hunt,
Anthony Johnson, }{ Philip Richard,
Timothy Smart, }{ William Purse.]

The Liberties of this Place, after the Dissolution of the College remained, and were preserved very cautiously from time to time. And to know how the Government, Privileges and State of it stood in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, these Matters following may explain in some measure.

The State of St. Martins in Queen Elizabeth's time.

J. S.

Because of the Liberty enjoyed by such as lived within these Bounds, many Foreigners, English and others, Tradesmen and Artificers, planted themselves here. An. 1585. A Survey was taken of all the Strangers, being French, Germains, Dutch, and Scots, inhabiting here, and their Occupations. Many of them were Cordwainers, that is Shoemakers, (which Trade still continues there) Taylors, (hence the Tallymen who sold Shreds of Cloth; and Button-makers, and Button-mold-makers, that remained there even until the great Fire, in my remembrance.) Here inhabited also Strangers, Goldsmiths, Pursemakers, Linen-Drapers, some Stationers, some Merchants, Silk

Strangers and Aliens in St. Martins.