The City of WESTMINSTER.48


In the Year 1256, King Henry sate in the Exchequer of this Hall, and there set down Order for the Appearance of Sheriffs, and bringing in of their Accounts; there was 5 Marks set on every Sheriff's Head for a Fine, because they had not distrained every Person that might dispend 15l. Land by the Year, to receive the Order of Knighthood, according as the same Sheriffs were commanded.

Henry the 3d. sate in the Exchequer, and amerced the Sheriffs.

Also the Maior, Aldermen, and Sheriffs of London, being accused of Oppression and Wrongs done by them, and submitting themselves in this Place, before the King sitting then in Judgment upon that Matter; they were condemned to pay their Fines for their Offences committed, and further, every one of them discharged of Assise and Ward.

And the Maior and Aldermen.

In the Years 1268 and 1269, the same King kept his Christmas Feasts at Westminster, as before: And also in the same Year 1269, he translated (with great Solemnity) the Body of King Edward the Confessor, into a new Chapel at the Back of the high Altar; which Chapel he had prepared of a marvellous Workmanship, bestowing a new Tomb or Shrine of Gold.

Translation of Edward the Confessor.

And on the Day of his Translation, he kept a royal Feast in the great Hall of the Palace. Thus much for the Feasts of old Time in this Hall.

We read also, that in the Year 1236, the River of Thames overflowing the Banks, caused the Marshes about Woolwich to be all on a Sea, wherein Boats ans other Vessels were carried by the Stream; so that, besides Cattel, the greatest Number of Men, Women, and Children, Inhabitants there, were drowned. And in the great Palace of Westminster, Men did row with Wherries in the Midst of the Hall, being forced to ride to their Chambers.

Wherries rowed in Westminster-Hall.

Moreover, in the Year 1242, the Thames overflowing the Banks about Lambhithe, drowned Houses and Fields, by the Space of 6 Miles; so that, in the great Hall at Westmninster, Men took their Horses, because the Water ran over all.

A great Fire happened upon the King's House at Westminster, An. 1263, in the King's Absence. Of which Henry de Sandwich, Elect of London, sent him Word in Condolance, viz. "That hearing of the Burning of his Houses at Westminster, he much grieved, as knew the most High, fearing least it might disturb his Mind, when it should be made known to him; and might change the State of his Body, and make it worse than it was; which he prayed God to mend and preserve." King Henry was now, it seems, Abroad, perhaps in France; and not current in the Health of his Body, no more than in his Mind, by Reason of the Disturbance made by his Barons.]

Fire in the King's Palace. 47 Hen. 3.

J. S.

Rymer's FÅ“deræ Convention. Tom. I.

This Palace was (in the Year 1299, the 27. of Edward the First) burnt by a vehement Fire, kindled in the lesser Hall of the King's House, the same with many other Houses adjoining, and with the Queen's Chamber, were consumed, but after that repaired.

T. Walsingh.

Palace at Westminster burnt.

In the Year 1313, the 31. of Edward the First, the King's Treasury at Westminster was robbed; for the which, Walter Abbot of Westminster, with 49 of his Brethren, and 32 other, were thrown into the Tower of London, and indicted of the Robbery of an Hundred Thousand Pound: But they affirming themselves to be clear of the Fact, and desiring the King of speedy Justice, a Commission was directed for Enquiry of the Truth, and they were freed.

The King's Treasury at Westminster robbed.

The Abbot and Monks sent to the Tower.

In the Year 1316, Edward the Second did solemnize his Feast of Pentecost at Westminster, in the great Hall; where sitting Royally at the Table, with his Peers about him, there entered a Woman adorned like a Minstrel, sitting on a great Horse, trapped as Minstrels then used; who rode round about the Tables shewing Pastime, and at Length came up to the King's Table, and laid before him a Letter; and forthwith turning her Horse, saluted every one, and departed. The Letter being opened, had these Contents.

Edward the Second, keeping his Feasts at Westminster Hall, was presented with a Complaint of not rewarding Soldiers.

Our Sovereign Lord the King hath nothing courteously respected his Knights, that in his Father's Time, and also in his own, have put forth their Persons to divers Perils, and have uttlerly lost, or greatly diminished their Substance, for Honour of the said King; and he hath enriched abundantly such as have not borne the Weight (as yet) of the Business, &c.

This great Hall was begun to be repaired on the Year 1397, by Richard the Second, who caused the Walls, Windows, and Roof, to be taken down, and new made, with a stately Porch, and divers Lodgings of a marvailous Work, and with great Costs. All which he levied on Strangers banished, or flying out of their Countries, who obtained License to remain in this Land by the King's Charters, which they had purchased with great Sums of Money, [John Boterell being then Clerk of the Works.]

Great Hall at Westminster repaired.

This Hall being finished, in the Year 1399, the same King kept a most Royal Christmas there, with daily Justings, and Runnings at Tilt; whereunto resorted such a Number of People, that there were every Day spent twenty eight or twenty six Oxen, and three hundred Sheep, beside Fowl without Number. He caused a Gown for himself to be made of Gold, garnished with Pearl and precious Stones, to the value of three thousand Marks. He was guarded by Cheshiremen, and had about him commonly thirteen Bishops, besides Barons, Knights, Esquires, and other more than needed; insomuch, that to the Houshold came every Day to Meat, ten thousand People: as appeareth by the Messes told out of the Kitchin to three hundred Servitors.

A Royal Christmas kept here by Ric. 2.

Thus was this great Hall, for the Honour of the Prince, oftentimes furnished with Guests, not only in this King's Life Time, (a prodigal Prince) but in the Time of other also, both before and since, though not usually noted. For when it is said, the King held his Feast of Christmas, or such a Feast at Westminster, it may well be supposed to be kept in this great Hall, as most sufficient to such a Purpose.

Ro. Ivelefe.

I find noted by Robert Fabian, the Chronicler, (sometime a Citizen and an Alderman of London) that King Henry the Seventh, in the ninth of his Reign, holding his Royal Feast of Christmas at Westminster, on the twelfth Day, feasted Ralph Austry, then Maior of London, and his Brethren the Aldermen, with other Commoners in great Number: And after Dinner, dubbing the Maior Knight, caused him with his Brethren to stay and behold the Disguisings, and other Disports, in the Night following, shewed in the great Hall, which was richly hanged with Arras, and staged about on both Sides. Which Disports being ended in the Morning, the King, the Queen, the Embassadors, and other Estates, being set at a Table of Stone, 60 Knights and Esquires served 60 Dishes to the King's Mess, and as many to the Queen's, (neither Flesh nor Fish) and served the Maior with 24 Dishes to his Mess, of the same Manner, with sundry Wines in most plenteous wise. And finally, the King and Queen being conveyed, with great Lights, into the Palace; the Maior with his Company in Barges, returned and came to London by Break of the next Day. Thus much for building of this great Hall, and feasting therein.

King Henry the Seventh feasted the Maior of London, &c.

Ro. Fabian.