The Life of JOHN STOW. xiv

The Life of JOHN STOW.

of St. Mary Woolnoth, which was 7s. and 6d. with the Churchwarden's Name subscribed.

He died April the 5th following, that is, within less than Six Months after, of the Stone Cholick: So that it is to be feared, the poor Man made but little Progress in this Collection. 'Tis strange to me, that the City of London, to which he had done such Service and Honour, in writing such an elaborate and accurate Survey thereof; nor the wealthy Company of Merchant-Taylors, of which he was a worthy and creditable Member; nor lastly, the State, in grateful Remembrance of his diligent and faithful Pains, in composing an excellent History of the Kingdom, neither of them had allotted him some Honorary Pension during his Life. He being arrived at the Age of 80 Years, deceased, and was buried towards the upper End of the North Isle of St. Andrew Undershaft Church, in which Parish he had lived many a Year; and hath a decent Monument there on the North Wall, set up by his Wife, with a good Effigies of himself sitting in a Chair as it were in his Study, with a Book before him, reading; and Books in Shelves about him: And this Latin Inscription:

His Death, and Monument,

Resurrectionem in Christo hic expectat JOANNESS STOWE, Civis LONDINENSIS. Qui in antiquis Monumentis eruendis accuratissima diligentia usus, ANGLIÆ Annales, & Civitatis LONDINI Synopsin, bene de sua, bene de postera ætate meritus, luculenter scripsit; Vitæq; stadio pie & probe decurso, obijt ætatis Anno LXXX. die 5. Aprilis, MDCV.
ELIZABETHA Conjux, ut perpetuum sui amoris testimonium, dolens [H.M.P.]

And Inscription.

This Figure of STOW, which seems to be Stone, I have been told by an ingenious Person in Antiquities, to be nothing else but Clay burnt, and painted; a fine Art, known and practised in former Times. Of this sort, there were several Effigies in Churches before the great Fire. One of these was the Head of Dr. Colet, set up both in St. Paul's Church, whereof he was Dean, and in his School hard by, founded by him; which I well remember since I was a Scholar there, divers Years before the Fire: But now there be scarce any Remainders of that Kind, except this of STOW, standing in a Church that escaped the spreading Conflagration, Anno 1666. wherein so many Churches were demolished.

Mr. Bagford.

By the above Inscription, it appeareth he was married; but what Sons he had, beside four Daughters, as this Monument mentioneth none, so neither can I learn.

Had a Wife and four Daughters.

To conclude; as for his Person and Temper, he was (as he is described by one that well knew him) tall of Stature, lean of Body and Face; his Eyes small and Christalline; of a pleasant and chearful Countenance; his Sight and Memory very good, and retained the true Use of all his Senses unto the Day of his Death. He had an excellent Memory; was very sober, mild, and courteous, to any that required his Instructions. He always protested never to have written any thing, either for Envy, Fear, or Favour, nor to seek his own particular Gain or Vain-glory: and, that his only Pains and Care was, to write Truth.

Edm. Howes's Chron.


BUT before we can fully finish Mr. Stow's Character, we must know more particularly what he was, as well as what he did; and see him within, as well as without; I mean, the Disposition, Inclination, and Endowments of his Mind, as well as his visible Works and Actions.

His Character.

And that which in this Consideration of him, first offereth it self to us to relate, is, that he was an earnest Student and Lover of the Antiquity of his own Country; which was so great, that it made him at length lay aside his own secular Trade and Business, that he might wholly addict himself to it. He was an unwearied Reader of all Authors of English History, whether printed, or in MS. and a Searcher into Records, Registers, Journals, Original Charters, Instruments, &c. as may be seen by the large Catalogues of them set down both in his Annals and Survey, as consulted by him, and from whence the Materials and Authority of those his Books were taken; as Testimonies of his Truth and Diligence.

Studious of Antiquity.

And it contented him not to have the reading of Books and Writings of this kind, but he was greedy of making himself Possessor of them, as of a great Treasure. By the Year 1568, he had furnished himself a considerable Library of such; as appears from the Report of Mr. Watts, Archdeacon of London, the Bishop of London's Chaplain, who was sent to search his Library, viz. "That he had a great Collection of old Books and MSS. of all sorts, but especially relating to Chronicle and History both in Parchment and Paper; and that there was abundance of Matter collected for History, Fundationes Ecclesiarum, Monasteriorum, &c. Flores Historiarum, and such like." And the Rarity of his Study was, that it was not only stored with ancient Authors, but Original Charters, Registers, and Chronicles of particular Places; such as, the Register of Bermondsey, the Register of St. Edmunds Bury, of the new Abby near the Tower, of St. Bartholomew Smithfield, of the Friars Minors of London, &c. these in Latin; other Registers in English; as, a Register of the Knights of the Garter, a Register of the Maiors of London. He also had old Records of London, Records of St. Asaph, Chronicles of St. Albans, Arnold's Chronicles, Annals of the Monastery of Hyde, &c. Most of which, I suppose, he had purchased, or some way or other procured, with considerable Charge and Cost (no question) out of his own Purse. And he had the greater Opportunity to furnish himself with these things, living in the Times when they were dispersed and scattered abroad, and conveyed away

His Library.