The Life of JOHN STOW. ij

The Life of JOHN STOW.

dreadful Tempest of Thunder and Lightning happened, while the Ringers were ringing. And suddenly there came in at the South Window an ugly-shapen Sight, and Light on the North Side. Presently the Ringers, for Fear, let go their Bells, and all fell down, and lay as dead for the Time. And when they came to themselves, they found certain Stones of the North Window to be razed and scrat, as if it had been so much Butter, printed with a Lion's Claw, as Stow's Expression is. One of these Ringers, who was alive when Stow was a young Man, often verified the same to him as a Truth.

These Stones were fastened there again, and so remained long after: Which Stow saith he often saw, and put a Feather or small Stick into the Holes where the Claws had entred, and found them two or three Inches deep.

His Mother was Margaret Stow: Who made her last Will, June the 27th, 1568. Proved the Thirteenth of October following. Therein it appeareth, that she had Sons, two Johns; one whereof was her Eldest Son, and both alive when she made her Will, (to whom she gave Legacies) and Thomas, whom she made her Executor, and William Stow: Her Daughters, Johan, Margaret, Alice.

His Mother, Margaret Stow. Her Will. Regist. Lond.

She bequeathed her Body to be buried by her Husband, in the Parish of St. Michael's Cornhill, in the Cloister: And Thirty Shillings, to bury her decently. Ten Shillings upon her Children and Friends, to drink withal after her Funeral. To the Poor, in Bread, Five Shillings. To the Company of Tallow-Chandlers, to follow her Corps to the Church, Six Shillings and Eight Pence: With these pious Words for her Soul, void of the Superstition commonly used in those Times: "I bequeath my Soul unto Almighty God, my Maker and Creator; and to his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, my only Saviour and Redeemer; with the Holy Ghost; and into the Fellowship of the Holy Host of Heaven."

She had a Son, named Thomas Farmer.

To all her Children she gave Legacies: But unto John, the Eldest, the least; viz. Five Pounds.

In this Parish then, we take for granted, Stow was born; and that about the Year 1525, in the 17th of Henry VIII. His Godfathers were, Edmund Trindel and Robert Smith; and Margaret, the Wife of William Dickson, Godmother. For so he himself sets it down in the First Edition of his Survey, tho' left out afterwards: Whose said Godfathers had Monuments in the said Church of St. Michael; as his said Godmother and her Husband had in the Cloister belonging to that Church, lying once under a fair Monument set up for them, but since defaced. These, no doubt, were wealthy Tradesmen, and his Father's good Neighbours in Cornhill. Who tho' he lived here for the Sake of his Calling, yet was of such Rank and Estate, that he had a Garden to retire to for his Pleasure and Diversion, situate on the Backside of Throgmortonstreet, in Broadstreet Ward; near to that Place which is now the Drapers Hall: Which then was the House of Sir Thomas Cromwell, K. Henry the Eighth's Great Minister and Secretary of State. For which Garden he paid 6s. 8d. yearly Rent; and it consisted of about Four and forty Foot in Length.

Born when.

His Father's Garden.

Here a remarkable Matter happened, which his Son John somewhere relateth, shewing the Power and arbitrary Proceedings of the Great Men in those Times. The Business was this:

A Garden-House, close by his South Pale or Wall, stood somewhat in Cromwells way, and obstructed his Convenience: Therefore, without any more ado, or having the Leave of the Proprietor, his Workmen loosed it from the Foundation, and bare it upon Rollers, and ran it Two and twenty Foot into Mr. Stow's Garden, before he heard any thing of it. Who afterwards speaking to the Surveyors of Cromwell's Works, had nothing but this Answer given him; That Sir Thomas commanded them to do it: And none durst argue the Matter. Notwithstanding his Father was fain to continue to pay his old Rent, without any Abatement for his Garden, tho' Half of it was in this manner taken away.

John Stow seemed to follow his Father's Trade and Calling, whatever it were. In a Letter of Grindal, Bishop of London, to the Privy Council, concerning a Search that was made by his Chaplain in Stow's House, for Papistical Books, he called him Stow the Taylor. Which perhaps might be more than barely relating to the Company of Merchant Taylors, whereof he was free: It might bespeak him a Taylor by Trade: Since in former Times, in Cornhill, Men of that Occupation lived, and had their Shops; who were then of more Reputation and Wealth than of later Times those of that Calling are.

Stow, his Trade.

One Peter Mason, a Taylor, lived in this Street, and was a good Benefactor to St. Peter's Cornhill. And one Atwood, Draper, that lived over against St. Michael's Church, in Stow's Time, and (as it seems) a Man of Credit and Wealth, was of this Trade, and had his Stall, as well as his House there. Whose Wife, a Chantry Priest (belonging to the said Church) debauched; which the Husband, coming up to fetch a Pressing-Iron, discovered. But he was even with him, by making him to leap out of a Window, as well as other severe Shame and Punishment taken on him.

These Shopkeepers, as they sold Cloth out of the Piece, so they seemed also sometimes to make and fit it up for wearing. And in Birching-Lane, and along thence in Cornhill, Westward, lived Upholders, or Frippers; that is, such as sold Apparel and old