The Life of JOHN STOW. xxiij

The Life of JOHN STOW.

gregation: But the Husband once coming up, made him leap out of the Window, and afterwards caused him to be Punished three Market Days; being conveyed through the High Streets and Markets of the City, with a Paper on his Head; wherein his Trespass was writ; and each Day rung with Basins, and Proclamation of his Fact at the turning of every Street; and also before Atwoods Stall, (that was the Husband's Name) and the Church Door where he used to perform his Divine Service. And lastly, was deprived of the Benefit of his Chauntry, and banished the City for ever. Thus Stow spared not to expose unclean Priests, and to applaud the Punishments of Shame executed on them.

And, indeed, on all Occasions, he shewed great Dislike of all Immorality, Injustice, Wrongs, Frauds, Unfaithfulness, Falshood, and Treachery; which shewed, that Stow had an honest and good Mind. And he spared not to expose the more scandalous Sorts of Men that fell in his Way, as unclean Priests (one whereof we have heard him telling of before, without Disguise) unfaithful Executors, Abusers of charitable Donations, false Jurymen, Cheats, and Impostors, Extortioners and cruel Oppressors, Violators of Monuments of the Dead, and Exalters of themselves above their Neighbours.

An Exposer of scandalous Men.

And this might be the Reason, why this good Man had the Mishap sometimes to fall under scurrilous and calumniating Tongues: One among the rest (whereof he was forced to make publick Complaint to the Magistrate) had (upon what private Disgust, I know not) intolerably railed upon him, even at his Shop Door, reflecting upon his Chronicles; nay, upon his Trade, as a Taylor; and chiefly upon his Integrity and Truth in his Histories and Writings, as tho' they were but Lies: Nay, and besides abusive Language, there was Assault and Battery added, together with all the Signs of Rage and Madness. All which, after much Patience and Forbearance, able no longer to endure it, he made his Complaint to the Magistrate: Which he drew up in this Manner.

Stow slandered, and abused by a foul Tongue.

"Pleaseth it your Worship to understand, how your poor Orator, JOHN STOW, hath of late been more than too too much abused by one William Ditcher, alias Tetford, and his Wife, &c." The Process whereof is too long to write; but briefly to touch some Parts thereof. He spake much of this Man's railing at him, and of his Apprentice's Fighting with Stow's Apprentice; and that he calld him Pricklouse Knave, and beggarly Knave, and Rascal Knave; and that he made a Chronicle of Lies. That he said to the Parson of the Parish, and to the Deputy of the Ward, that there came nothing but Rogues and Rascals, and the vilest of the Land to Stow's House. Which Rascals had him from Alehouse to Alehouse every Night and Morning. That William's Wife, before the Stall of the said John, railed against him more than a long Hour; but that he, John Stow, kept himself above Stairs, without any Answer making. That one Day the said William leapt in his Face; and that he feared he would have digged out his Eyes; foully scratched him by the Face, drew Blood of him, and was pulled off by the Neighbours. That the said William threw Tilesheards and Stones at Stow's Apprentice, till he had driven him off the Stall from his Work. And then the said William came to John's Stall, and said, if he could catch the said Apprentice, he would cart him; and vowed, he would accuse him to have killed the Man on the Miles End in Whitson Week; [that it seems was found dead there.] He also said, that Stow's Wife had two Children by one Man, before she was married, to the great Slander of the said John Stow, and Hindrance of their Children; being Four Daughters marriageable, and in Service with Right Worshipful Personages. Further, that he caused one John Snelyng, being drunken, to come to the Stall of the said Stow, and there to call him by such a Name, as himself better deserved. And at another Time called him, the falsest Man in England, and threatned to cart him, if he could get him out of his Door; called him also Common Proctor, Common Barator, Common Drunkard, Rascal, Villain, &c.

Makes his Complaint to the Magistrate.

It is no marvel, if this honest Man, for his Hatred of vicious and base Actions, and exposing them, might thus be served. To give then some Instances hereof, as I have observed them here and there in his Writings.

He often took occasion to rebuke such as were false to their Trusts, and neglected the Performance of the Wills and charitable Donations reposed in them; which, by his Experience, were most wretchedly abused sometimes by Executors putting the Money, Lands, or Houses into their own Pockets; or converting them some other ways. Among the Gifts given for the finishing Guildhall, London, he mentioned Nicholas Alwyn, Grocer, sometime Maior; who, by his last Will, about 1505, gave 73l. 6s. 8d. for a Hanging of Tapistry, to serve for principal Days in Guildhall: But how that Gift was performed, he had not heard; a modest Expression, importing, that they the Executors had not perform'd it; and then more roundly he speaks it out in generals, For the Executors of our Time, having no Conscience, (I speak of my own Knowledge) prove more Testaments than they perform.

Rebuked unfaithful Executors.

Alwyn's Charity not performed;

And before him, Simon Eyre, [or L'eyre, as he is written] a Draper, sometime Maior, who built the Granary and Chapel in Leadenhall; and deceased 1459, gave by his last Testament (which Stow said he had read) many most noble Charities; and amongst the rest, he gave the Drapers 3000 Marks, on Condition to establish in his Chapel a Master or Warden, five Secular Priests, six Clerks, and two Queristers, to sing daily Divine Service. Also one Master with an Usher for Grammar, one Master for Writing, and the third for

Nor the Gifts of Eyre.

Lime Street Ward.