Borough of Southwark. 9

Borough of Southwark.

His Arms, in a Field Argent, on a Cheveron Azure, three Leopard's Heads Gold, their Tongues Gules, two Angels Supporters; on the Crest a Talbot.

His Epitaph:

Armigeri Scutum nihil     
a modè fert sibi tutum,
Reddidit immolutum * morti     
generale tributum,
Spiritus exutum     
se gaudeat esse solutum,
Est ubi virtutum     
Regnum sine labe statutum.


The Roof of the middle waste Ile fell down in the Year 1469. This Priory was surrendred to Henry the Eighth, the one and thirtieth of his Reign, the seven and twentieth of October, the Year of Christ 1539. valued at Six hundred twenty four Pounds, Six Shillings, Six Pence, by the Year.

About Christmas next following, the Church of the said Priory was purchased of the King by the Inhabitants of the Borough. Dr. Stephen Gardener, Bishop of Winchester, putting to his helping hand, they made thereof a Parish-Church for the Parish-Church of St. Mary Magdalene, on the South side of the said Quire, and of St. Margaret on the Hill; which were made one Parish of St. Saviour.

Priory of St. Mary Overy made a Parish Church for Parishioners of St. Mary Magdalen and St. Margaret's on the Hill.

There was an Act of Parliament, Anno 1540, 32 Henry VIII. for the uniting of these two Parishes, viz. St. Margaret's and St. Mary Magdalen's, whereby the Churchwardens elected by the Parish were a Body Corporate. After some Years, thirty of the Parish, instead of all the rest of the Parishioners assuming to themselves the Management of the Business and Revenues of the whole Parish, upon pretence of avoiding the Confusion of the Multitude, became very uneasy to the rest of the Parish. Insomuch that in the fifth Year of King James I. they appealed to the Parliament for a Regulation. The whole Cause at large is worth the recording, as I have it from an authentick Writing, which was as followeth:

St. Margaret's and St. Magdalen's Parishes united.

J. S.

Henry VIII. By Act of Parliament the two Parishes of St. Margaret's and St. Mary Magdalen, in Southwark were united and made one; and the Church of the Monastery of St. Mary Overy made the Parish Church, and called by the name of St. Saviour's: The Parishioners enabled, amongst themselves, yearly to nominate and elect four or six Churchwardens, the Churchwardens made a Body Corporate and capable in the Law. To them is graunted Lands and Tenements to the value of twenty Marks a Year, belonging to the dissolved Fraternity of Brothers and Sisters in St. Margaret, and divers other Hereditaments belonging to the Churchwardens of the same St. Margaret's.

A Fraternity in St. Margaret's.

The Parishioners did choose Churchwardens eighteen Years together, according to the said Act, and did take the Churchwardens Accompts: They provided that the Revenues and Profits of the Church were carefully employed for the common Good: They prevented lavish and unnecessary Expences, and ministred unto every Man equal Right, until about 5 Mar. in Anno 1556. some of the Parishioners perceiving the Revenues and Profits of the Church to be encreased to 300l. a Year, or thereabout, and being desirous of the Rule and Sway of the rest, pretended, that the Assembly of the Multitude, at the choice of Churchwardens occasioned much confusion, suggesting that the election of the Churchwardens, and the dispensation of the Revenues and Profits of the Church were transferred to a selected Number, the Confusion would be avoided, and all other Business better ordered.

The Parish governed by Thirty.

By which Intimation thirty Parishioners assumed unto themselves the sole Authority to manage the Revenues and Profits of the Church, to exclude the Ministers and Parishioners for ever from the Election, the Accompts of the Churchwardens, and all other Business and Privileges belonging unto them; they choose the Thirty themselves, Six Churchwardens and Four Auditors to take their Accompts, out of the Thirty: They call themselves Vestrymen, Masters and Governors of the Parish: They spend thirty Pounds a Year, or thereabouts, in Feasting themselves and their Wives, upon the Revenues of the Church: They allow the Churchwardens Four Pounds a Year Fees, and their Auditors Twenty Shillings. They benefit themselves with Leases of the Church Lands, to the great hindrance of the Poor. They make By-Laws and Constitutions, against the Statutes. They yearly lose great Sums of Money in the receipt of Tythes, Clerk-wages, and at the Communion Table. The Parish hath lost fifty six Pounds by one of their Company that ran away being Churchwarden; a hundred forty one Pounds two Communion-Cups and a Cover, that was supposed to be stoll'n out of the Vestry by a Vestryman. And is many hundred Pounds the worse for their election and managing the Revenues and Profits of the Church, but no way advantaged by the same. Therefore the Parishioners desire that the former Act may be confirmed with these Alterations:

They abuse their Trust.

That the Ministers and Subsidy Men of three, four, or five Pounds may have the election of the Churchwardens, and an oversight in all the Business belonging to the Church, and the Revenues thereof. That the Churchwardens may enter into Bonds to make true Account, and do no Act but with consent of the Ministers and Subsidy Men. That all the Lands belonging to the Parish, and all other Profits may be confirmed and established. That the Churchwardens, with consent, may purchase Lands, and take Legacies for the Relief of the Poor. That all the Actions of the precedent Churchwardens may be good and effectual. That the surplus of the Revenues may be converted to the use of the Poor. That five Pounds Fine may be imposed (or under) upon them that refuse to bear Offices, &c.

A Regulation of the Parish endeavoured.

Reasons for the ground thereof.

That the Statue which first gave life to the Corporation, and endowed it with Revenues and Profits, may no longer be subject to serve the private Affections and Passions of a few Ambitious Men, but be reverently obeyed. That the election of Churchwardens may be limited by Statute; because those that are chosen by the Thirty are not capable of Lands and Possessions, nor to do any Act as a Corporation. That the Lands and Possessions of the Church and Parish, now subject to Suit by the undue election of the Churchwardens, and all the former Actions of the precedent Churchwardens (yet void in Law) may be confirmed and made good. That the Lands and Revenues of the Church consecrated to charitable Uses, may be preserved from lavish Expence and be employed to the common Good. That the Office of Churchwardens may hereafter be managed according to Law, Custom, Equality, and Parity; which for many Years hath been unequally distributed, to the discontent of many the better sort of Parishioners, and the evil Example of many other Parishes. That the Churchwardens may make their Accounts before the Ministers and Subsidymen: whereby all means of Corruption may be prevented.

The Manner of election of Churchwardens by thirty Vestrymen, now sought to be altered, hath these grounds to uphold and defend it self.

The election of Churchwardens, now used, was by consent of the Parishioners transferred to Thirty.

Election of Churchwardens by 30 Vestrymen.

1 Objection.