Suburbs. St. Dunstans Stepney, Antiquities thereof 48

Suburbs. St. Dunstans Stepney, Antiquities thereof

" fore to return for Stepneys Sake, which mourned for his Absence, no less than Children did for the Absence of their loving Mother."

Country Houses were also within this Parish built in Spittle Fields, Mile End, and Bethnal Green, Bow, and Old Ford. In Bethnal Green, I read of a fair House built in Queen Elizabeths Reign by one John Kirby. Fleetword Recorder of London, in a Letter writ about 1578. to the Lord Treasurer mentioned the Death of certain rich Citizens, as Fairfax, and Bowres, and of John Kirby, that built the fair House upon Bethnal Green. Which House, lofty like a Castle, occasioned certain Rhimes, abusive of him and some other City Builders of great Houses, and had prejudic'd themselves thereby. Kirkebies [or Kirbies] Castle, and Fishers Folly, Spinola's Pleasure, and Megses Glory, &c. And this Kirbies House I make no doubt, is that now called, The blind Beggars House there. Perhaps Kirby beggered himself by it.

Bethnal Green.

A fair House there.

The North west Parts of this Parish, (Spittle Fields and Parts adjacent,) of later Times became a great Harbour for poor Protestant Strangers, Waloons and French: Who as in former Days, so of late, have been forced to become Exiles from their own Country for their Religion, and for the avoiding cruel Persecution. Here they have found Quiet and Security, and settled themselves in their several Trades and Occupations; Weavers especially. Whereby God's Blessing surely is not only brought upon the Parish, by receiving poor Strangers. (Come ye Blessed of my Father, &c. For I was a Stranger and ye took me in:) but also a great Advantage hath accrued to the whole Nation, by the rich Manufactures of weaving Silks and Stuffs and Camlets: Which Art they brought along with them. And this Benefit also to the Neighbourhood; that these Strangers may serve for Patterns of Thrift, Honesty, Industry and Sobriety, as well

Spittle fields.

A Harbour for Protestant Strangers.

It is to be further remarked of this Parish of Stepney, on the Southern Parts of it specially, that it is one of the greatest Nurseries of Navigation, and Breeders of Seamen in England, the most serviceable Men in the Nation; without which England could not be England. For they are its Strength and Wealth. And by how much the more Honour and Use our Mariners are to us, so much the greater Fame deservedly accrues unto this Parish, that breeds and brings them up in such great Numbers.

Stepney breeds many Mariners.

Stepney anciently was both a Parsonage and a Vicarage, to be held by two distinct Persons. And the Parson or Rector had a Right of Patronage to present a Vicar. For I find an old Letter from King Richard the Third to Thomas Kemp, Bishop of London; wherein William Kemp, Deacon, Rector of the Parochial Church of St. Dustane of Stepnethe is called Verus Patronus Vicariæ humoi. Ecclesiæ; i.e. True Patron of the Vicarage of this Church. Which William had granted to Nicholas Sudbury, Haberdasher of the City of London, the next Advowson or jus Patronatus, of the said Vicarage; one Richard Luke, Clark, being then actually Vicar. Upon which Richards Death, the said Sudbury presented Degory Watur, Priest, Bachelour of Decrees. But this gave Occasion to a Contest about the Year 1484. For then the Bishop of London had a Mind that another should enjoy the said Vicarage, namely Richard Fox [the same, as it seems, that was afterwards Bishop of Winchester and Keeper of the Great Seal] who then was a Student in Paris, and a great Friend to Henry Ap Tudder, Earl of Richmond, which the said King Richard called his Great Rebel. The Endeavour to prefer him shewed, that Bishops secret good Will to the said Earl and his Cause. Hence when the said Watur came to the Bishop for his Institution and Induction to the Living, he delayed and put him off, till it was lap- sed. Watur upon this made Complaint to the King and his Council, and prayed His Highness for Remedy to assist him in his just Cause. Whereat the King sent once and again to the Bishop in the said Clarks Behalf, that he would institute and induct him lawfully presented into the said Vicarage. But the Bishop making Answer by a Messenger, named John Asheby, one of the Clarks of the Signet, that if indeed it were found and proved, that the said Fox were with the Kings Traitors, then he willingly committed his Right and Authority to the King, and he might himself present a Person, as he thought good. The King seeing these Delays, he had the Presentation put into his Hands by the Patron. And then by a third Letter the King let the Bishop understand further, of the Certainty of Fox's consorting with his Traytor: and that he being now Patron both by the Bishops Concession, and the said Nicolas Sudburies Right, did present the said Watur his Clark, and desired him, canonically to institute him to the said Vicarage, all Exceptions and Delays laid aside. Dated from the Kings Place of the Wardrobe in the City of London, 22d of January 1484.

Stepney Parsonage, and Vicarage.

Ledger King Richard III.

One of the Vicars of this Church named Jerom, was burnt in Smithfield in King Henry the Eighth's Time, for the Profession and Love of the Gospel, about the Year 1540.

Jerom Vicar of Stepney burnt.

Another, and, as it seems, the next that succeeded, had been Abbot of the Abbey on Tower-Hill, and put in here upon the Dissolution and Surrendry of his House. He was a stout Papist, as his Predecessor was a stedfast Gospeller. In his Time there was a Quire and singing in this Church, and an excellent Ring of Bells. And when any Sermon had been preached there, which he did not like, as girding upon any Popish Errors and Corruptions, or commending the Evangelical Doctrin; he would sometimes stand up, and presently command the Bells to ring, or the singing to begin in the Quire, while the Sermon was preaching; and sometimes he would interrupt the Preacher in the midst of his Discourse. There were many Persons in this Parish well disposed to the Gospel, who being grieved with this Vicar, for these and the like Doings, complained of him to Archbishop Cranmer. And being cited before him at Croyden, under King Edward VI. the good Archbishop gave him a gentle Reprimand, and sent him home.

An Abbot Vicar here.

Anno 9 Regin. Annæ 1711. An Act was made for confirming to the Principal and Scholars of Kings Hall and College of Brazen Nose in the University of Oxford, the Purchase of the Advowsons of Stepney, and other Churches, as Whitechapel, &c. And for settling the same to the Benefit of the said College.

Advowson of Stepney in Brazen Nose College.

This Parish is to partake of the Benefit of the Act, 9 Reg. Ann. cap. 22. for building Fifty New Churches. Whereof one is now building, and in great forwardness, near Limehouse, and another in Brick-Lane near Spittle fields; and another in Wappin Stepney. And in the Act there is a Proviso, That in every new Church and Parish to be erected, pursuant to an Act made in the second Session of this Parliament, within Stepney Parish, the first Rector shall be nominated and appointed by the Principal and Scholars of Brazen Nose College, Oxon: And also in every Chapel in Stepney, which shall be converted into a Parochial Church.

Now to point to a few Places in this Parish of some Antiquity or Remark. Somewhat North from the Church lieth Mile End, being the great Thorowfare to the East Parts from London. so called from its Distance from the middle Parts of London. Here stood anciently an Hospital of poor Lazars, called the House of our Saviour Jesus Christ

Mile End.

An Hospital of Lazars at Mile End.