[The Priory.] Faringdon Ward without. [Bartholomew Fair.]235

[The Priory.] Faringdon Ward without. [Bartholomew Fair.]

The Priory of St. BARTHOLOMEW.


On the East side of this Duck lane, and also of Smithfield, lieth the late dissolved Priory of St. Bartholomew; founded also by Rahere, a pleasant witted Gentleman; and therefore in his time The King's Minstrel, about the Year of Christ, 1102. He founded it in a part of the oft before named Moorish Ground, which was therefore a common Laystall of all Filth, that was to be voided out of the City. He placed Canons there, and himself became their first Prior; and so continued till his dying Day; and was there buried in a fair Monument, of late renewed by Prior Bolton.

Priory of St. Bartholomew.

By a greate Gate in the said Duck lane, we enter into a spacious Court, inhabited, belonging to the said Hospital, called Bartholomew Close. On the East part thereof, is a late built Court, with fair Brick Buildings, called Queens Court. At the upper end thereof, East, is a curious Picture of the late Queen ANNE, in full proportion. This Court was built Anno 1708. There be also two or three narrow Passages from this Close into Aldersgate street.]

Bartholomew Close.

J. S.

Amongst other memorable Matters touching this Priory, one is of an Archbishop's Visitation; which Matthew Paris hath thus.

Boniface (saith he) Archbishop of Canterbury, in his Visitation, came to this Priory; where, being received with Procession in the most solemn wise, he said, That he passed not upon the Honour, but came to visit them. To whom the Canons answered, That they having a learned Bishop, ought not, in contempt of him, to be visited by any other. Which Answer so much offended the Archbishop, that he forthwith fell on the Sub-Prior, and smote him on the Face, saying: Indeed, indeed, doth it become you English Traitors so to answer me? Thus raging, with Oaths not to be recited, he rent in pieces the rich Cope of the Sub-Prior, and trod it under his Feet; and thrust him against a Pillar of the Chancel with such [spiritual] Violence, that he had almost killed him. But the Canons seeing their Sub-Prior thus almost slain, came and plucked off the Archbishop with such force, that they overthrew him backwards, whereby they might see, that he was armed, and prepared to fight. The Archbishop's Men seeing their Master down, being all Strangers, and their Master's Countrymen, born at Provence, fell upon the Canons, beat them, tare them, and trode them under Foot. At length, the Canons getting away as well as they could, ran bloody and miry, rent and torn, to the Bishop of London, to complain. Who bade them go to the King at Westminster, and tell him thereof. Whereupon, four of them went thither, the rest were not able, they were so sore hurt. But when they came to Westminster, the King would neither hear nor see them; so they returned without redress. In the mean season, the whole City was in an uproar, and ready to have rung the common Bell, and to have hewed the Archbishop into small pieces, who was secretly crept to Lambeth, where they sought him; and not knowing him by sight, said to themselves, Where is this Ruffian, that cruel Smiter? He is no winner of Souls, but an exacter of Money; whom neither God, nor any lawful or free Election did bring to this Promotion. But the King did unlawfully intrude him; being Unlearned, a Stranger born, and having a Wife, &c. But the Archbishop conveighed himself over, and went to the King with a great Complaint against the Canons, whereas himself was guilty.

Archbishop of Canterbury visiteth St. Bartholomew's Priory with Stripes.

Words of the Archbishop to the Prior and Canons.

Sub-Prior's Cope rent and trodden under Foot, and himself almost slain.

The Archbishop armed, and overthrown.

The Canons beaten, and trod under Foot.

The Canons complained, but could not be heard.

The whole City in an uproar against the Archbishop.

This Priory of St. Bartholomew, was again new builded in the Year 1410.

Bolton was the last Prior of this House, a great Builder there. For he repaired the Priory Church, with the Parish Church adjoining; the Offices and Lodgings to the said Priory belonging, and near adjoining. He builded of new the Manor of Canonbury at Islington, which belonged to the Canons of this House; and is situate in a low Ground, somewhat North from the Parish Church there. But he builded no House at Harrow on the Hill, as Edward Hall hath written; following a Fable then on Foot.

Bolton last Prior of St. Bartholomew, a great Builder there.


Edw. Hall.

The People (saith he) being feared by Prognostications, which declared, that in the Year of Christ 1524. there should be such Eclipses in watry Signs, and such conjunctions, that by Waters and Floods many People should perish: People victualled themselves, and went to high Grounds for fear of drowning; and especially one Bolton, which was Prior of St. Bartholomews in Smithfield, builded him an House upon Harrow on the Hill, only for fear of this Flood. Thither he went, and made provision of all Things necessary within him, for the space of two Months, &c.

His House at Harrow on the Hill.

But this was not so indeed, as I have been credibly informed. True it is, that this Bolton was also Parson of Harrow, and therefore bestowed some small Reparations on the Parsonage House; and builded nothing there, more than a Dove House, to serve him when he had forgone his Priory.

To this Priory, King Henry II. granted the Privilege of a Fair to be kept yearly, at Bartholomewtide, for three Days; to wit, the Eve, the Day, and the next Morrow. To the which the Clothiers of England, and Drapers of London repaired; and had their Booths and Standings within the Churchyard of this Priory, closed in with Walls and Gates, locked every Night, and watched, for Safety of Mens Goods and Wares. A Court of Piepowders was daily, during the Fair, holden for Debts and Contracts. But now, (notwithstanding all Proclamations of the Prince, and also Act of Parliament) in place of Booths within this Churchyard (only letten out in the Fair time, and closed up all the Year after) be many large Houses builded; and the North Wall, towards Long lane, being taken down, a number of Tenements are there erected, for such as will give great Rents.

Bartholomew Fair.

The Foreigners were licensed for three Days, the Freemen so long as they would, which was six or seven Days.

Court of Piepowders.

The Custos of the City, Rafe Sandwich, An. 1295. had a Contest with the Prior of St. Bartholomews, about the Customs and Benefits of this Fair. Claiming all the Customs, the Morrow after St. Bartholomew's Day, and half of them on the Eve before the said Day. Of this King Edward took Notice; and the Customs being his Benefit at his time, when the City Privileges were forfeited, and in the King's Hand; he sent this Brief a little before the Fair, to the said Custos and the Sheriffs, to have the Business decided by his Treasurer and Barons. The said Brief was as follows.

Contest between the City and the Prior, about the Fair.

Lib. Alb. Fol 286 b.

J. S.

"Dominus Rex, &c. The Lord the King hath commanded the Custos and Sheriffs in these Words. Edward, by the Grace of God, to the Custos and Sheriffs of London, Greeting. Whereas the Prior of St. Bartholmew of Smethefeld, in the Suburbes of London, by the Charters of Our Progenitors, Kings of England, and Our Confirmation, claimeth to have a certain Fair there every Year, during three "