Suburbs without the Walls. Morefields. 54

Suburbs without the Walls. Morefields.

The other next it of far large Extent and Capacity, and well endowed: A great Sum of Money being left for that Purpose to the Company of Ironmongers of London, by Sir Robert Jefferies, Kt. and Alderman. It hath two Wings, and Rooms below and above, very fair and beautifully built. It may contain between forty and fifty Inhabitants, who may be either Men or Women: And have each six Pound per Ann. allowed them; and Gowns every two Years. There is a Chapel in the middle of the Building, fronting the Highway; and a Chaplain, who hath a Salary and Chamber allotted him: He is to read Prayers twice a Day, and to preach a Sermon every Sunday. The Building is not yet quite finished; nor the Court Yard levelled.]

The other by Sir Robert Jefferies, Knight.

I will now turn back from Shoresditch Cross to Bethlem Cross: and so pass through the Hospital of St. Mary Bethlem into the Morefield: which lieth without the Postern, called Moorgate.

Suburb without the Postern of Moorgate.

This Field (of old time) was called, The Moore, as appeareth by the Charter of William the Conqueror to the College of St. Martin, declaring a running Water to pass into the City from the same More. Also Fitz Stephen writeth of this More, saying thus; When the great Fenne, or More, which watereth the Walls on the North side, is frozen, &c.


This Morefield was in ancient Writings called Magna Mora, because of the great extent of this More or Mere: To which also belonged a Fishery for the use of the City; both from ancient Times in the possession of the City. But in the 3 Edw. I. Walter de Merton, Lord Chancellor, seized on them both. Which upon an Inquisition appointed that Year, the Jury of Alderman Pet. Aungiers Ward presented, and complained of; Informing, That the City had been in full and peaceable Possession ever, unto the Time of Walter Hervey, late Maior of London, [viz. 1 Edw. I.] of one More or Mere, and one common Fishery in Criplesgate Ward, belonging to the Commonalty of the said City. Now the City was without the seisin of the said More and Fishery, by menas of Walter de Merton, to the disherison of our Lord the King, and the damage of the said City. And they know not by what Warrant.]

Morefields called Magna Mora; and the Fishery there.

J. S.

Quo Warr. Bag of London in the Tally Court.

Pet. Le Neve, Esquire.

The Fenne, or Morefield, stretching from the Wall of the City, betwixt Bishopsgate and the Postern called Cripplesgate, to Fensbury, and to Holywell, continued a waste and unprofitable Ground a long time; so that the same was all letten for four Marks the Year, in the Reign of Edward the Second. But in the Year 1415, the third of Henry the Fifth, Thomas Fawconer, Maior, (as I have shewed) caused the Wall of the City to be broken toward the said More, and builded the Postern called Moregate, for ease of the Citizens to walk that way upon Causeways into the Fields, towards Iseldon and Hoxton. Moreover, he caused the Ditch of the City, and other the Ditches thereabout, from Sores ditch to Deep ditch, by Bethelem, into the More ditch, to be new cast and cleansed. By means whereof the said Fenne or More was greatly dreined and dried. But shortly after, to wit, in 1477, Ralph Joceline, Maior, for repairing of the Wall of the City, caused the said More to be searched for Clay, and Brick to be burnt there, &c. by which means this Field was made worse for a long time.

Finsbury Fields and Morefields an unprofitable Ground.

In the Year 1498, all the Gardens which had continued time out of mind, without Moregate, to wit, about and beyond the Lordship of Fensbury, were destroyed: and of them was made a plain Field for Archers to shoot in. And in the Year 1512, Roger Atchley, Maior, caused divers Dikes to be cast and made, to drein the Waters of the said Morefields, with Bridges arched over them, and the Grounds about to be levelled. Whereby the said Field was made somewhat more commodious, but yet it stood full of noisome Waters. Whereupon, in the Year 1527. Sir Thomas Seymour, Maior, caused divers Sluces to be made to convey the said Waters over the Town Ditch, into the course of Walbrook, and so into the Thames. And by these degrees was this Fenne or More, at length, made main and hard Ground, which before being overgrown with Flags, Sedges, and Rushes, served to no use. Since the which time also, the farther Grounds beyond Fensbury Court, have been so overheightned with Laystals of Dung, that now three Windmils are thereon set. The Ditches be filled up, and the Bridges overwhelmed.

Gardens without Moorgate, destroyed and made plain Ground.

Ditches cast to drein the Morefield.

Sluce to convey the standing Water out of the Moor.

Moorfields raised and Wind Mills set thereon.

Morefields, to the Time of Sir Leonard Halliday, Maior, Anno 1606. was but a noisome Place, like a Laystal, half environed with stinking Ditches, offensive to the City and Passengers. But not it was converted into every pleasant Walks, Gravelled, Planted on all sides with Rows of Trees, and divided into Quarters, and railed in, to keep the Grass from being trodden down, fenced on the Outsides with Brickwalls coped with Stone. Also divers Vaults were made under Ground, partly to convey away foul Water, and partly to bring in fresh into the Town ditch, to keep it sweet. For the forwarding of this good Work, Sir Leonard Halliday must have his Name recorded to his Praise.

Moorfields come to its Perfection in Sir Leon. Hallidays Maioralty.

J. S.

Hows Abridgm.

Hereabouts is the New Artillery Ground walled in, for the Exercise of the Militia of the City, after the Old Artillery without Bishopsgate street went out of Request.

New Artillery.

Here adjoining on the West is a Place called Bunhil fields. Where, some time ago, was a large Piece of Ground enclosed for a Burying-place; for the convenience of such as died of the Plague in the Year 1665. The Inscription at the entrance on the West side, is this:

Bunhil Fields.

This Churchyard was enclosed with a Brickwall, at the sole Charges of the City of London, in the Maioralty of Sir John Laurence, Kt. Anno Dom. 1665. And afterwards the Gates thereof were built and finished in the Maioralty of Sir Tho. Bloudworth, Knight, Anno Dom. 1666.

Since thence this Place hath been chosen by the Dissenters from the Church of Engl. for the interring their Friends and Relations, without having the Office of Burial appointed by the Book of Common Prayer, said at their Graves. There be a great Number of raised Monuments here with Vaults underneath; and Grave Stones with Inscriptions not a few. The Price of Burial in the Vaults, I am told is 15s. This CÅ“mitery lies East and West.

A burying Place for Dissenters.

On the North side these Persons are buried under Tombs, or sepulchral Stones.

Buried on the North side.

Anne Perry, Wife of Peter Perry, Citizen and Salter. Who bare unto him one Son and two Daughters at one Birth. She dyed the ninth of April. And the Children named Elizabeth, Mary, and Peter, all dyed the same Month. Peter the Eldest, lived longest, and dyed April 19th 1678.

East of Perries Monument is a Head Stone with this Inscription.

Here lyes the Body of Richard Burn, Gent. who departed 26th of July, 1686. Aged 45.

Elizabeth Burn.

When Death doth call me to my Bosom Friend,
Then all my grieving it will have an End.
And all my Sorrows will be vanquisht quite,
When I am sleeping with my Hearts Delight.