The Life of JOHN STOW. xxv

The Life of JOHN STOW.

charitable Gifts in the respective Parishes in London, as far as possibly he could obtain them. Which he was sometimes baulked in; being refused by some to let him see their Books or Tables. Thus for one Instance, he tells us, where he is speaking of London Bridge, how there was a Table hung up in the Chapel on that Bridge, containing the Names of such as had been Benefactors of Lands, or Tenements, or Money, to the Maintenance of it. But the Chapel being turned afterwards into a Dwelling House, the Table was removed to the Bridge House; and so, as it seems, under the Custody of the Bridge Masters: This Table he would willingly have published in his Book, if he could have obtained the Sight thereof; which he could not.

This Act also of his that follows, viz. in taking the poor Prisoners Part, will shew his Abhorrence of Oppression, as well as Debauchery. In the Year 1552, he was of a Jury of Inquest, to make an Enquiry against a Session of Goal Delivery. In this Inquest, he and his Jury Men found the Prisoners in Breadstreet Compter (for then the Compter was there) to be very hardly dealt withal, in their Provisions, and otherwise: and that notwithstanding many Warnings given the Keeper (whose Name was Husbands) by the Court of Aldermen upon Complaint before. And moreover they found that Thieves and Strumpets were lodged there, Four sometimes in a Night: whereby they might be safe from Searches that were made abroad a Nights. Husbands was for these Crimes indicted at the Sessions; and made a Shift still to rub it out, til the Year 1555. his House being his own, they removed the Prisoners away from him unto Woodstreet, where the Compter is still kept.

His concern for the poor Prisoners.

Vid. Breadstreet Ward.

There was another sort of Men that his honest Heart rose against, that affected and strove to be Jury-Men: who oftentimes for Reward were Perverters of Justice and Judgment. He called them the Ringleaders of Inquests; making a gainful Occupation of it. Such as laboured to appear upon Nisi Prius's before they were warned, or procured to be warned to come on by a Tallis: and such as procured themselves to be Foremen, when they could: and then took upon them to over-rule the rest to their Opinion. Such an one should be laboured by Plaintiff and Defendant, not without Promise of Reward; And therefore, said he, to be suspected of a bad Conscience. And he added, how he knew one such that was carted, and rung with Basins, and banished out of Billingsgate Ward: And yet aftward in Algate Ward made Constable, a Grand Juryman, and Foreman of their Wardmote Inquest: And that he knew the like or worse of others.

False Jurymen.

Cheats and Impostors there were in his Time; who pretended to Skill which they had not, or some Ways or other amused the People, to draw Money out of their Pockets: of these many counterfeited themselves Phy- sicians; who at the same Time got poor Peoples Money and endangered their Lives too. Stow was glad when Justice took hold of them, and brought them to Shame. Two of these he takes Occasion to speak of, with their Punishment. One in the Reign of King Edward VI. about the Year 1550. a Poulter of Surrey, named Grig: who by giving out that he would take no Money for his Cures, and by pretending to heal by Words and Prayers, was taken by the People for a Prophet, as well as a Physician. He was set on a Scaffold in Croydon with a Paper on his Breast, on which was written his deceitful and Hypocritical Dealings: and afterwards set on the Pillory in Southwark on Ladyday Fair; when the Maior and Aldermen riding through the Fair, he asked them and all the Citizens Forgiveness. The other Cheat of a Doctor was long before, viz. An. 1382. Who, as Stow relateth, was set upon an Horse with his Face to the Horsetayl, and the Tayl held in his Hand as a Bridle: a Collar of Jordans about his Neck, and a Whetstone on his Breast [to denote him a great Lyar.] And in that Fashion led through the City: and then banished. And hereupon he telleth, that many such Deceivers still were, who being never trained up in Reading, or Practice of Physic or Chirurgery, boasted notwithstanding to do great Cures; especially upon Women, as in making them strait, that before were crooked, corbed, or crumped in any Part of their Bodies. The contrary whereunto, saith he, is true: and then makes this Conclusion, That some had received Gold, when they had better deserved the Whetstone. And lastly, as a Disproof of these Pretenders, he addeth an Apophthegm witty enough, Not so easy to turn a crooked Body strait, as to turn a Mustard-Quern: Nor one Leap out of a Docket maketh a Doctor.

Counterfeit Physicians.

But above all, he hated that Inhumanity, Ingratitude, nay Sacrilege, that many in his Time shewed to the Dead, in breaking down their Monuments, tearing away, defacing and purloining the Brass and Inscriptions or other Ornaments thereon, alienating their Vaults and Burying Places, and not suffering their Bones to rest in quiet: tho' many of them were the Builders of the Churches where their Sepulchres were, or good Benefactors to them. Against these base Practices, too common in those Times, he often took occasion to declaim: and spared not them that were guilty herein. When in his Relation of Cordwainer Ward he came to Aldermary Church, he mentioned the Foundation of that fair Church to be laid by Keble sometime Maior of London, who deceased 1518. and by his last Will gave 1000l. towards the building of the same; and was buried in a Vault there by him prepared, with a Monument raised over him on the North side the Choir. But that which Stow added, that this Monument was destroyed and gone, and that he

Hated such as defaced Monuments.

Keble's Vault and Monument destroyed.