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Story Of London

The Thirteenth Century: Edward I

This series of articles presents a basic chronology of London but will also contain references to national events where these are important in the development of the London area. Wherever possible, the precise dates and days of the week on which the events here recorded took place are noted. The series is an organic one and will change frequently as new events or dates are extracted from our sources.



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The Thirteenth Century: Edward I

Edward I

YearMonth/DayEvent
1272Sunday November 20Edward I was proclaimed king in his absence on crusade.
1273Wednesday July 5St Katharine’s hospital by the Tower was refounded by Eleanor, widow of Henry III.
1274Edward finally made a truce with Guy of Dampierne, son of Margaret of Flanders, at Montreuil-sur-mer.
1274Earliest reference to Fleet Street as opposed to vico ad fletebridge.
1274The Templars’ mill at the mouth of the Fleet is mentioned in a document quoted by Stowe. Richard Raison and his wife hold a tenement next to the mill in the demise of the Master and knights of the Temple.
1274London’s first Town Clerk was appointed in this year and the detailed and systematic records of the corporation’s activities were kept for the first time.
1274Wednesday March 7Death of the Christian philosopher St Thomas Aquinas.
1274Wednesday July 11Birth of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.
1274Sunday August 19The coronation of Edward I.
1274OctoberEdward appointed a body of auditors who were required, in accordance with the terms of the truce of Montreuil, and with the aid of Flemish assessors, to hear pleas of chattels and debts of the Flemish merchants in England. They sat at St Martin’s Le Grand in London.
1275The site of the derelict Baynard’s Castle south of Ludgate reverted to the crown.
1275Edward issued a statute forbidding the Jews to lend money at interest. In return, he encouraged them to become traders, artisans and agriculturists.
1275The first custom house belonging to the crown was built at Old Wool Quay, a little to the east of its present site on Lower Thames Street. The City had its own custom House.
1275An earthquake this year caused much damage to houses and churches in London.
1275Thursday May 23Edward I ordered an end the persecution of French Jews.
1276The market which had sprung up on London Bridge was this year suppressed by the corporation. They also banned anybody from going to Southwark to buy wares that were available in the City.
1277Because of the damage which they caused to the road surfaces, carts carrying heavy loads such as water and stones and which had iron-shod wheels were forbidden to enter the City.
1277Thursday June 24Edward I began his first Welsh campaign following Llewelyn’s refusal to do homage.
1278The church of St Ethelburga, Bishopsgate was first mentioned in this year.
1278The king made the Baynard’s Castle site over to the Black Friars. At the same time, the archbishop of Kilwardby granted them his own land adjoining it for the construction of their friary.
1278AprilRobert Kilwardby, Archbishop of Canterbury, was, surprisingly, elevated to Cardinal Bishop of Porto.
1278JuneKilwardby resigned the see of Canterbury. The monks of Canterbury elect Robert Burnell, bishop of Bath & Wells and Edward’s Chancellor. Pope Nicholas III refused to postulate Burnell.
1278Thursday November 17680 Jews were arrested across England on charges of counterfeiting coins. 293 were subsequently executed.
1278DecemberJudicial commissions were appointed to seek out speculators in silver and clippers of the coinage. The export of silver was prohibited. Jews and merchants in particular were suspect. The Jews suffered atrociously and very many were hanged. New coinage was planned and all old money was called in for exchange with the new.
1279JanuaryThe pope appointed John Pecham, Provincial minister of the Franciscans in England, to Canterbury and consecrated him on February 26.

Edward I’s first queen, Eleanor of Castile.

1279The Easter parliament reached unanimous agreement about the lawful measures of foreign cloth. An enquiry was ordered into the alleged duty of German merchants in London to contribute towards the upkeep of the city walls. Also, four suits affecting the Master of the Temple, then before judge Ralph de Hengham, were postponed for consideration in the Michaelmas parliament.
1279Friday November 10Letters of pardon for Adam de Stratton were issued after the first enquiry into his activities. He was a Wiltshire clerk who had acquired for himself a profitable, but nefarious, importance in the City of London as a Christian usurer and agent. In his headquarters in Smalelane, near the Fleet prison, he made a fortune as a moneylender, mainly in petty transactions with the needy. He was also a powerful man in the royal service. His fall finally came in 1290-2 and was due to his follies of violence, chicanery and tampering with seals and charters. Both of the enquiries were at the instance of religious houses, the last being the Abbey of Bermondsey which accused him of forging a deed. He was imprisoned in the Tower as a felon in 1292. A total of £12,666 17s 7d in cash was found in his house at his arrest.
1279DecemberTechnical and financial arrangements for minting the new coinage were concluded with William Turnemire, an expert from Marseilles. The Royal Mint was moved from Old Change to the Tower. The farthing, as an actual quarter of a silver penny, was current in London by this date where it went under the name of “Londoner” (Lundrensis).
1280It is mentioned that it is the duty of the warden of the Fleet Prison to repair and construct the woodwork of fleet bridge although it is the duty of the sheriffs of London to pave it.
1280The leper hospital and chapel at Kingsland Road, Hackney were founded in this year. They later came under the administration of St Bartholomew’s Hospital.
1280The bishop of Bangor purchased land for his London home on the west side of Shoe Lane.
1280The church of St Mary Matfelune was built in white stone and the area subsequently became known as “whitechapel”.
1281The west wall of the Tower precinct, including the Beauchamp tower, was completed in this year.
1281Thursday December 25A severe frost set in. It was followed by heavy snowfalls.
1282JanuaryThe Thames was frozen and it was possible to walk along it. The ice brought down five arches of London bridge. The frost lasted well into the year.
1282The City authorities took strong measures to increase the Watch and enforce the observance of the curfew.
1282Friday December 11Death of the last native Prince of Wales Llewlyn ap Gruffydd.
1283The Black Friars were given permission to enclose their precinct within the City boundaries. The precinct wall was to be built at the expense of the City but with many murage grants from the crown.
1283The Stocks market was completed and the rent from the stalls went to pay for the repairs to and upkeep of the bridge. The wall enclosing St Paul’s and its churchyard was also completed in this year.
1285The Statute of Westminster enshrined the principles of the writs of Watch and Wardin the legal structure of the realm.
1285Edward pursued the Jews still further and ordered the synagogue in Ironmonger Lane to close.
1285Thursday June 28Edward took London into his own hands and ruled it through a warden for 13 years. Some rioting and jail breaking had occurred and John Kirkby, the treasurer, with others, was appointed to carry out judicial investigations in the Tower. The mayor, Gregory of Rokesley, led the aldermen in protest. However, he turned up without the official insignia and seal of the community. Kirkby took the opportunity to declare that London was without a mayor and formally took the city into the king’s hands. All offenders were summoned to appear before the king at Westminster. Ralph of Sandwich was made constable of the Tower and warden of the city. He was given a house on Cornhill. A series of ordinances for the administration of London were made and published.
1287The church of St Peter in Vincula, inside the Tower precinct was completely rebuilt in this year.
1288Like the Fleet, the Walbrook was used as an open sewer. This year an order was given for it to be cleansed of dung and other nuisances. The cost was to be born by the houses along its course.
1288The king, in Gascony, sent a lion and a lynx back to the menagerie in the Tower.
1289The Exchequer, the government department most closely connected with the financial activities of London, including the exchange, was transferred to the place of the London hustings. The treasurer now assumed increasing control of the city’s affairs.
1290The monks of Whitefriars complained to the king in parliament of the “putrid exhalations” of the Fleet and claim that they have been responsible for the deaths of many of their brethren. The obstruction to the mouth of the fleet caused by the mill of the Templars was blamed for the stink. They were supported in their complaint by the Black Friars and the bishop of Salisbury.
1290The inmates of the leper hosptiatl of St James (on the site of today’s palace of St James) were given permission to hold a seven-day fair each July.
1290The Jews were expelled from their Ghetto in Old Jewry.
1290John Kirkby, the treasurer, died and was succeeded by William March.
1290Wednesday November 29Edward’s queen, Eleanor of Castile died at Herdeby near Grantham. Edward brought her body back to London in a solemn procession and caused a cross to be erected at each place where the bier rested until received into the local church. The last two of these “Eleanor Crosses” were erected at Cheapside and what would become Charing Cross.
1290Sunday December 10The queen was buried at Westminster Abbey but her heart was buried in an urn at the house of the Blackfriars at Ludgate.
1291The loss of the Holy Land at the fall of Acre led many to see the original mission of the Templars to be at an end. They were unpopular with the regular clergy and their great wealth was envied by many of the nobility who had lost great sums in the Crusades and other wars. This was particularly true of Philip IV (Le Bel)of France. He had influenced the elevation of the Pope, Clement V, a former Bishop of Bordeaux and therefore wielded power over the papacy. Clement moved the Papal court to Avignon
1292The king’s private chapel, St Stephen’s at Westminster was begun in this year.
1292The bishop of London attempted to have two woods at Stepney enclosed but the Londoners declared that “time out of mind” they had hunted hares, foxes and rabbits there and opposed the enclosure.
1292The City authorities this year appointed four men to take any pigs found roaming the streets. They were to be slaughtered unless their owners paid a fine of fourpence.
1293Edmund, brother of the king and earl of Lancaster, and his wife Blanche founded the convent of St Clare outside the walls, to the south of Aldgate. The nuns were known as Sorores Minores (Little Sisters) and the area thus acquired the name “the Minories” by which it is still known.
1293A group men rescued a man being taken to gaol by the sheriff but theree of the ringleaders later had their hands amputated by the common hangman on Cheapside.
1293Sunday June 21Lancaster had been given the Savoy by his mother. He now received permission from Edward to strengthen it with a wall of stone and mortar and to castellate the building.
1293Friday December 4A mansion which had been erected on the site of the buildings in the Jewry which had been destroyed in the riots of 1262-3 was given to an alderman named John de Baquell. This became known as Bakewell Hall and it eventually became a woollen market a hundred years later.
1294Edward ordered all churches and monasteries to be ransacked of their treasures. From St Paul’s he acquired £2,000 and one of the Deans died in a fit during the ransack.
1294The bishop of Chester purchased land for his London house on the south side of the Strand in the area no occupied by Somerset House. It was later, as Strand Inn, to become one of the Inns of Chancery.
1295The Londoners became increasingly irritated by the control exercised by the treasurer over their affairs. They voiced their grievances to the king’s council and William March was removed. The liberties of London were once again gradually restored.
1296Anthony Bec, bishop of Durham, began to build his moated mansion at Eltham. He presented it to the Prince of Wales in 1311 and it became a royal palace.
1296Friday April 27An English army led by Edward I defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar.
1297MarchThe City sheriffs were banned by the king from arresting mem bers of the clergy. It was claimed that they had been arrested “out of spite” and imprisoned in the Tun on Cornhill.

The Coronation Chair of Edward I which is still in Westminster Abbey and used for modern coronations.

1297Edward’s coronation chair at Westminster Abbey was made in this year.
1297St Ethelreda’s church was begun this year as a chapel attached to Ely Palace.
1297The curfew was confirmed and orders were issued that each each citizen was to keep the street before his house clean and that no projections from houses should be lower than the height of a man on horseback. Pigs were one again banned from the streets.
1298The mayoralty of London was finally restored for a second time.
1298The house of the Crossed (Crutched) Friars at Hart Street was established in this year.
1299The Tun on Cornhill was attacked this year and the prisoners released.
1300Gold and Silver were first hall-marked with a leopard’s head.
1300It was agreed that the bishop of London, who derived considerable income from the toll at Bishopsgate, should be responsible for repairing the hinges on the gate. The parishioners of St Stephen’s Walbrook were also made responsible for maintaining and repairing the covering over the Walbrook beside their church.

One of the Eleanor Crosses.



The remainder of the thirteenth century
King JohnHenry III