Strype, Survey of London(1720), [online] (hriOnline, Sheffield). Available from:
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The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
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Suburbs without the Walls. The Buildings. Inmates. 35

Suburbs without the Walls. The Buildings. Inmates.

"Laws of the Forest.] By the Forest Laws, if a Man build any House whatsoever within the Forest, without the King's License, or the Licence of the Lord of the Forest: the same being presented at the Swaine Mote, and opened at the Justice Seat, may justly be defaced by due Course of Law, and pulled down, and the Builder imprisoned, and rawnsoned for his Trespass. Here ye see that Tenant in Fee simple may not deal with his Lands as he list, but secundum Leges & Consuetudines Locorum, i.e. according to the Laws and Customs of Places. I do remember that in the Time of King Edward the First, the Lords of the Parliament, being moved by the King to devise a Law, that the King might have Power to inhibit the bearing of Armour among his Subjects, the Parliament concluded that it was not meet to establish any such Law: for that it was a Prerogative inseparable from the Crown; and the King by his Prerogative Law might take such Direction therein, as by his Wisdom he should think convenient. If this Prerogative Law were executed, then should we not daily meet such an infinite Number of Sword-bearers within this City of London, and Westminster Hall. And yet there be such as have not stuck to say, that neither the Queens Highness could by any Law either inhibit Building, or the Portage of Armour. "

" By the Records of the Pipe it appeareth, that We of London do pay for the City a Feefarm, and that we are Tenants in Feefarm of the Room ground, viz. of such Places as Smithfield is, and of all the Streets and such like Places in London; yea, and also of all the Gates, Bulwarks, Walls, Ditches, and also, of London Bridge itself. And therefore we being Tenants in Fee may pluck down, alter, change and deface the Walls, the the Ditches, the Gates, the Bulwarks, the Posterns, the Room Lands, the Streets, the Thames Banks, and the Bridge itself. This is not true. For that, the Laws of the Crown have such Interest over the City of London, and over all the Members thereof, that We may do none of these Things without the Licence of the Crown. As appears in Anno 5to of Henry VI. Wherein Licence was given to the Executors of Whittington to pluck down, and newly to reedifie the Prison House in Newgate. "

" In London, Houses are to be pulled down with Engines, Hooks and Ladders, provided for that Purpose. And this is by the common Laws of the Realm. And this is for avoiding of the Rage of Fire. "

" In London, by the Law for avoiding of Inconveniences, where the Plague is in any House, the Inhabitants thereof are to be shut up within the House. And this justifiable by Law. "

" In London, by the Law no Man may build, or make a Reredorse for the Fire of Charcoals within any House, but he shall be imprisoned and fined; and also the Reredorse to be defaced. "

" In London, Tallow Chaundlers may not melt their Tallow in their own dwelling Houses, for annoying of their Neighbours. "

" In London, Flaxwives, for fear of Fire; Coriers, for their Stynche; Inholders, cum suis finis, [i.e. with their Dunges] are inhibited. And this is by the Common Law, and not by any private Custom. "

" Assemblies of Markets, of Faires, of Courts unlawfully usurped, are punishable, except they have the Kings Charters for the same. "

" A fortiori, it must needs be, that to erect new Buildings, and to make new Streets with housing, may not be suffered without License of the Queen. And especially where the same doth tend to the Overthrow of the City of London, being the chief Chamber of the Imperial Crown. "

" St. Myghels Lane in Lymestreet was stopt and and mured up. And the Inhabitants there dwelling were driven to seek Houses elsewhere. For cause Felons and Harlots were there received in the Night Season. "

" So was the Lane from Bevys Marks unto Algate, between Christs Church and the Walls of London, shut up for the same Cause. And so have been divers other Lanes within London. And all by the Kings Commaundment. "

" What can be a freer Thing than the Body of a Freeman. And yet by the Law, if he be a Lazar, by the Queens Writ de Leproso removendo, he shall be removed from his dwelling House unto a Lazar House out of the City. "

" By the Laws of the Corone inter Capitula Escaetrie, if a Man do build a Castle or a House of Stone, or if any other Thing, and do embatttel the same, it shall be inquired of by the Exchetor; and after abated; although the Builder be Tenant in Fee simple of the same. "

" In the 20 H. 8. Bishop Fecy [Vezy] of Exeter, purchased a great Chace and a Lordship in Warwyckshire; and there builded a Town and did People the same. But this was done by Licence. "

" For the Preservation of the King, his Corone and Realm, the King may by the Common Law make Castles and Bulwarks upon any Mans Ground, for the Defence of the Realm. Even so may the King deface any Buildings, that may be for his Safety. As it was done, when the New Forest was first made. "

" The Commissions for suppressing of Hedges, Ditches and other such Inclosures, to the Hindrance of Artillery, are granted by the King. And yet are the Owners of the Lands, Tenants in Fee simple. "

" By the Laws of the City, if any Man build within sixteen Foot of the Walls, the building shall be pulled down, &c."

This Discourse breaks off thus abruptly.

But yet after all this, it was found, that the Law was too short, to pull down Houses that were already built. And all they could do was to inflict Punishment upon such as had built contrary to the Queens Proclamation. And now was another Stop put to the new Buildings, wheresoever they were in hand with. And among the rest, a Building of an hundred and ten Foot that began upon Wappin Wall by one William Page.

Another Stop put to new Buildings.

But such Flocking there was notwithstanding to the City continually, and such Numbers of People (and they for the most Part Idle, Vagrant Persons) harbouring themselves in it, filling the Houses with Inmates, that the Queens Successor, King James the First, in the first Year of his Reign, set forth his Proclamation against Inmates and Multitudes of Dwellers, in strait Rooms and Places in and about the City of London: And for the razing and pulling down of certain new erected Buildings. Which Proclamation (occasioned by the Plague that was this Year in the City) followeth.

Inmates more and more in the City.

"WHEREAS it falleth out by woful Experience, that the great Confluence and Access of excessive Numbers of idle, indigent, dissolute and dangerous Persons, and the pestring of many of them in the small and strait Rooms and Habitations in the City of London, and in and about the Suburbs of the same, have been one of the chiefest Occasionsof the great Plague and Mortality; which hath not only most extremely abounded in and about the said City and Suburbs thereof, and especially in such strait Rooms and Places, and among Persons of such Quality: but also from "

A Proclamation against them, Anno 1603.


© hriOnline, 2007
The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY