Story Of London

The City Wards in 1731: VII

Our next instalment from the Gonzales guide to London in the early part of the 18th century explores the two wards in the north west cornwer of the City, Cripplegate Ward and Aldersgate Ward. They contain a number of halls belonging to the rich guilds but also the much celebrated Sion College and the college of St Martin’s Le Grand whose site is now occupied by the General Post Office

St Giles Cripplegate.19. Cripplegate Ward is usually divided into two parts, viz., Cripplegate within the walls and Cripplegate without.The principal streets and places in Cripplegate Ward within the walls are Milk Street, great part of Honey Lane Market, part of Cateaton Street, Lad Lane, Aldermanbury, Love Lane, Addle Street, London Wall Street, from Little Wood Street to the postern, Philip Lane, most of Great Wood Street, Little Wood Street, part of Hart Street, Mugwell Street, part of Fell Street, part of Silver Street, the east part of Maiden Lane, and some few houses in Cheapside to the eastward of Wood Street.The principal streets and places in Cripplegate Ward Without are Fore Street, and the Postern Street heading to Moorfields, Back Street in Little Moorfields, Moor Lane, Grub Street, the south part to the posts and chain, the fourth part of Whitecross Street as far as the posts and chain, part of Redcross Street, Beach Lane, the south part of Golden Lane as far as the posts and chain, the east part of Golden Lane, the east part of Jewin Street, Bridgewater Square, Brackley Street, Bridgewater Street, Silver Street, and Litton Street.The public buildings in this ward are Sion College, Barber-Surgeons’ Hall, Plasterers’ Hall, Brewers’ Hall, Curriers’ Hall, the churches of St. Mary Aldermanbury, St. Alphege, St. Alban, Wood Street, and St. Giles, Cripplegate.Sion College is situated against London Wall, a little to the eastward of Cripplegate, where anciently stood a nunnery, and afterwards a hospital founded for a hundred blind men, anno 1320, by W. Elsing, mercer, and called Elsing’s Spittal: he afterwards founded here a priory for canons regular, which being surrendered to King Henry VIII. anno 1530, it was purchased by Dr. Thomas White, residentiary of St. Paul’s, and vicar of St. Dunstan’s in the West, for the use of the London clergy, who were incorporated by King Charles I., anno 1631, by the name of the president and fellows of Sion College, for the glory of God, the good of His Church, redress of inconveniences, and maintaining of truth in doctrine, and love in conversation with one another, pursuant to the donor’s will; which college is governed by the president, two deans and four assistants, who are yearly elected out of the London clergy, on the third Tuesday after Easter; but none of them reside there, the whole being left to the care of the librarian. The great gate against London Wall is adorned with two columns, their entablature and pitched pediment of the Tuscan order, whereon is this inscription in gold letters:-Collegium Sionis a Thoma White, S. T. P. Fundatum Anno Christi 1631, in Usum Clerici Lond. Bibliotheca a Johanne Simpson, S. T. B. Extracta, a diversis Benefactor, Libris locupletata, & in posterum locupletanda. Vade & fac similiter.
[“Sion College was founded by Thomas White DD in the year of our Lord 1631, for the use of the London Clergy. The library was established by John Simpson DD, who persuaded several benefactors to donate rich books whose value continues to grow. Go and do the same.”]The college consists of a handsome hall, the president’s lodgings, chambers for students, and a well-disposed library, one hundred and twenty feet in length, and thirty in breadth, which is at this day very well replenished with books, notwithstanding both library and college were burnt down anno 1666. It was rebuilt and furnished by contributions from the London clergy and their friends. The library is kept in exact order, and there are all imaginable conveniences for those who desire to consult their books.St Botolph Aldersgate.20. Aldersgate Ward. The principal streets and places in this ward are, Foster Lane, Maiden Lane, Noble Street, St. Martin’s-le-Grand, Dean’s Court, Round Court, Angel Street, Bull-and-Mouth Street, St. Anne’s Lane, Aldersgate Street, Goswell Street, Barbican, Long Lane, and Little Britain.St. Martin’s-le-Grand was anciently a magnificent college, founded by Jugelricus and Edwardus his brother, anno 1056, and confirmed by William the Conqueror, by his charter, dated anno 1068, in the second year of his reign, who also gave all the moorlands without Cripplegate to this college, exempting the dean and canons from the jurisdiction of the bishop, and from all legal services, granting them soc and sac, toll and team, with all liberties and franchises that any church in the kingdom enjoyed.[Note 1]This college was surrendered to King Edward VI. in the second year of his reign, anno 1548, and the same year the church pulled down, and the ground leased out to persons to build upon, being highly valued on account of the privileges annexed to it, for it still remains a separate jurisdiction. The sheriffs and magistrates of London have no authority in this liberty, but it is esteemed part of Westminster, and subject only to the dean and chapter of that abbey.The public buildings in this ward are, Goldsmiths’ Hall, Coachmakers’ Hall, London House, Thanet House, Cooks’ Hall, the churches of St. Anne within Aldersgate, St. Leonard, Foster Lane, and St. Botolph, Aldersgate.1 [“soc and sac” granted the right of self-government and “tol and team” granted the right to levy local tolls.] Back