The Life of JOHN STOW. xvj

The Life of JOHN STOW.

Matthew Paris: and in the vulgar Tongue, as Polychronicon, William Caxton, Fabian, Hall, Cooper. Which if one looked into the Places he quoted, he should find no such Matter at all. And as for other Authors which he pretended to quote, as Robert de Averbury, Tho. Walsingham, Henry of Leycester, and the Register of Bury, and many others, he never so much as saw them, but only took what he alledged, not out of the Authors themselves, but out of his [i.e. Stow's] Summary. And in short, he wished the Readers to take care, how they were deceived with Lyes smoothly told.

Which Summary he abridged and so set forth as his own, which some learned, and honourable Person (as Stow himself relateth it) forbad to be reprinted, as discovering it to be not his, but Stow's; but notwithstanding, there was a Second Impression. To which R.G. had the Confidence to put a Preface in Vindication of himself against Stow, to which Stow trying to shame him gives the broad Term of a lying Preface.

Edward Hall had writ an History of the Union of the two Houses of York and Lancaster, which Stow saith, hitherto was had in great Price, and would doubtless hereafter be in greater. This Book was set forth by Grafton, as tho' it were his own, which Stow openly tells the World as a publick Correction for him, in these Words, "Somebody without any ingenuous and plain Declaration thereof, hath published, but not without mangling, Mr. Hall's Book for his own." And once more, John Harding, that lived An. 1450. whom John Stow calleth, A stout and well learned Man, shewing how he had exhibited a Chronicle of England, with a Map or Description of Scotland to K. Henry VI. added, that this Chronicle did almost altogether differ from that which under his Name was imprinted by Ri. Grafton. Thus would not our Stow spare this Plagiary. We shall hear more of him before we have done.

Edward Hall.

Description of Writers of History.

John Harding.

Our Authors good Judgment and Skill in Antiquity, joyned with an inquisitive Temper, rendred him useful in divers Respects. He was not to be put off with Frauds and Superstitious Fables, commonly imposed upon Men of less Accuracy: but was able to detect and discover them. And as he was a great Lover of Truth, so he was the more inquisitive to find it out: and his Reading and Learning the better enabled him to do it. He confuted the Story of Edward Hall in his Chronicle, following a Table (saith Stow) then on foot, concerning one Bolton, sometime Prior of St. Bartholomew; "That there being Prognostications, that in the Year 1524. there should be such Eclipses in Watry Signs, and such Conjunctions, that by Waters and Floods many People should perish. Whereupon many removed to high Grounds for fear of drowning: And particularly Prior Bolton builded him an House upon Harrow on the Hill, and that thither he went, and made provision of all things necessary within his House, for the Space of two Months, &c." This Stow would not let pass without diligent Enquiry, and by credible Information found it not so: and that the Ground of the Story was only this, that this Prior being Parson of Harrow, bestowed some Reparation on the Parsonage-House; and builded nothing else but a Dove-House, to serve him when he had forgone his Priory. Thus Stow sifted out Matters, and was not to be carried away by Reports.

Discovers fabulous Reports Historical.

He confuted also the commonly related and believed Report of William Walworth killing Jack Straw with his Dagger in the King's Presence: And that from that Act of the Maior the Dagger was added to the Arms of the City, which was before a Red Cross only: Whereas that Dagger was mistaken for St. Paul's Sword; born before in the old Arms, as it seems. And that it was indeed Wat Tyler that was struck by Walworth, in arresting him with a sound Blow on the Head; and afterwards wounded him with his Basiliard: whereas Jack Straw was taken and executed in Smithfield. As Stow gives a large Account of it, when he comes to Crooked-Lane Church, in Candlewick-Street Ward.

Concerning Walworth's Daggar.

And so again, he threw away the many fanciful Conjectures, whence the Name of Aldermanbury, a Place in London, was pretended to be taken; disdaining not once to mention them, as being all fabulous: but giveth a more judicious Reason of that Name of Aldermanbury, appropriated to that Place, being anciently the Court were the Aldermen met; partly from his own Experience, and partly from his Skill in old English Words: His own Experience, he himself having seen there the Ruins of the old Court Hall of the Aldermen, which they used before Guildhall was builded; which Place was then become a Carpenter's Yard. And Bery or Bury, he understood to signify a Court or Hall, and meant no more than we mean by Guildhall: shewing that there in Aldermanbury, lying there on the West of the present Guildhall, the Courts of the Maior and Alderman were continually holden, before Guildhall was built.


The Shankbone of a Man, or of a supposed Gyant, which hung up by a Chain in the Cloister of Aldermanbury Church, of 28 Inches and an half long (and which I my self have many times seen there when I was a Boy, with the Picture of a Giant of suitable Proportion by it) was commonly reported to be digged up at St. Pauls, when the Bones were carried from the Charnel House, or the Cloister there, into Moorfields, in the Time of King Edward VI. But Stow made a doubt of it; because Reine Wolf the Stationer, a grave Antiquarian, and the Man that paid for the Carriage of those Bones, never spake a Word of any such Bone found in either Place, tho' he had discoursed with him concerning those Bones which he carried away: Adding, that if such a

A pretended Giants Bone justly doubted of by Stow.