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* Loose serving men would commonly meet here, and make
rrels ; insomuch that it was many years called Ruffians Hall, being the usual rendezvous of ruffians and quarrellers, during the time that swords and bucklers were used; when every serving-man carried a buckler at his back, which suspended by the hilt or pommel of his sword hanging before him.
Between Hosier Lanc and Cow Lane, in Smithfield, anciently was a large pool of water, called Smithfield Pond, or horse pool, from the watering of horses there; and to the south-west of which, in Cow Lane, where St. John's Court is situate, stood the gallows, or public place of execution, denoininated the Elms, from the great quantity of such trees growing in that neighbourhood. But, the gallow's being removed to the west end of the suburbs, this part of Smithfield was soon erected into streets, lanes, &c. among the first of which buildings was that spacious and lofty wooden edifice, denominated High Hall, formerly standing in the said St. John's Court. This ancient structure of wood and stone was the city residence of the prior of Sempringham in Lincolnshire, as is evident by the writings thereunto belonging, in the custody of Sir Harry featherstone, wherein the said house is denominated Se. pringham Head-house."
Smithfield always was, and still continues, a market-place for cattle, hay, strav, and other necessary provisions; and once in the year, at Bartholomew tide (old stile), is noted for a general fair, commonly called Bartholomew Fair.
King Henry II. granted to the adjoining priory the privilege of a fair to be kept at Bartholomew tide, on the eve, the day, and the morrow, to which the clothiers of England, and the drapers of London, repaired, and had their booths and standings in the church-yard within the priory, which was separated from Smithfield only by walls and gatrs, that were locked every night, and watched, for the safety of the goods deposited there; and the narrow street, er lane, afterwards built where the cloth was sold, still reVol. III. No. 75.
tains the name of Cloth Fair. A court of pied poudre was daily, during the fair, holden for debts and contracts.
The fair kept here, instead of three days, was at length prolonged to a fortnight; and became of little other use than for idle youth and loose people to resort to, and to spend their money in vanity; and (which was worse) in debaucheries, drunkenness, whoredom, and in seeing and hearing things not fit for Christian eyes and ears'; many of the houses and booths here serving only to allure men and women to such purposes of impiety. Therefore the magistracy, often intending, at last fully resolved, in the year 1708, to reduce the fair to that space of time only, according to which it was at first granted, that is, to three days; and accordingly an order was made: and at a court of common council in June, the said year, the order was confirmed: whereby the fair was to be kept for three days only, for selling of merchandizes, according to the original grants from the crown; which regulation, though it has been sometimes broke, the chicf magistrate of late years has strictly observed
The excellent regulations, however, in the year 1806, through the wise management of alderman Shaw, during his respected mayoralty, sufficiently evinced that the community might be enabled to enjoy the usual exhibitions and entertainments, without indecorum or injury to their persous or property, more especially when it is considered what a revenue the tolls produce to the city chamber.
Sinithfield is surrounded by many good houses; but they are far from being regular or uniform. Mr. Ralph, in his “ Review of Public Buildings,” observes, that this vast area is capable of great beauty ; but it is at present destitute of all; and a scene of filth and nastiness. true, the use which is made of it as a market,” he adds, is is something of an excuse for it, and in some degree àtones for the want of that decency that would improve it so much: yet 'tis my opinion, that ways and means might
be found to make it tolerable at least, and an obelisk, pyramid, or statue in the centre, defended with handsome and substantial rails, would go a great way in so desirable a project.”
So many calls of this kind have been made, and im provements suggested, that the corporation have applied to parliament, to enable them, by the removal of houses, &c.
to form a grand square appropriate to every intention of im- x feel
A statue has also been often mentioned for the centre ; with deference we would propose that of the benevolent martyr Bishop RIDLEY, on the spot where the stake was fixed, with proper reliefs and inscriptions. The city at the present moment feel the good effects of his philanthropy in the benefits of all the royal hospitals ; and the decorations might be contrived to convey the virtues of the martyrs, without offence to any religious opinion.
At the north-east angle of Smithfield, stands the parish church of
IS situated near the end of Duck Lane, now Duke Street, Edir in the ward of Faringdon Without, within the liberty of Alates the city; though the inhabitants, for wbitrason has not been 03.31 assigned, claim certain exemptions,
It was a priory founded by Rahere, a gentleman of the court to Henry I. about the year 1102, who placed canons there, and became their first prior, till his death. The priory was rebuilt in the year 1410. Prior Trafford was the last prior, and the priory was surrendered in the thirtieth of Henry VIII. valued at 6531. 15s. per annum. The six bells were taken out of the church, and sold to the parish of St. Sepulchre; and the church being demolished to the choir, was by the king's order annexed to enlarge the old parish church; and so was used till the reign of queen Mary, who gave the remainder of the priory church to the Black Friars, by whom it was used as their conventual church until the first of queen Elizabeth, when the friars were expelled, and the church, with the old parish church, was, agreeably to the act of parliament in the last of Ed. ward the VIth, 1553, to remain for ever a parish church, called Great St. Bartholomew's.
Mr. Weever says, that prior Bolton *, after he had built the manor house of Canonbury, near Islington, died at his parsonage house near Harrow on the Hill; and the portraits of him, and his brethren, painted upon a table hanging in this church, was afterward in Sir Robert Cotton's library, holding up their hands towards a crucifix, under whom was depensild
Gulielmo Bolton precibus succurrite vestris
Qualis erat Paier hic, Domus hæc cætera monstrant. The church is a spacious and antient building, of the Norman order, with a strong timber roof; the walls of the church are of stone, and brick, and the steeple of brick, with battlements.
It had the good fortune to escape the terrible fire in ;666.
The interior is well preserved, and spacious, and the pulpit is a piece of finc old carving.
The altar-piece is painted of stone colour in perspective. It consists of four columns and two pilasters, with their
* Whose rebus a bolt, or arrow, in a tun, being on the south side of this church, was he origin of the Bole-in-Tun, a sign belonging to a very antiene inn in Fleet Street,
entabiament of the Doric order. The inter-columns are the Commandments, and lower are the Lord's Prayer and Creed, all done in gold letters on black. Over the Commandments, and under an arching pediment, is a glory with the word Jehovah in Hebrew characters.
Above the pediment are the arms of England, in colours, between two columns of the Ionic order, over which is another circular pediment; the whole adorned with pyramidal figures, shields, &c. and is about thirty-two feet high.
There are two galleries, one at the west end, in which is a good organ, and the other at the south-west angle of the church.
The length of the church is one hundred and thirty-two feet, breadth fifty-seven, and altitude forty-seven. The height of the steeple is about seventy-five feet, wherein are five bells; the roof of the church is covered with lead.
Mr. Stow says, there were buried here Roger Walden, bishop of London, 1406; who denicd his preferment to the bishopric from the pope, and would accept of it only from the king, as appears by the records in the Tower.
This man was remarkable for the vicissitudes of fortune. From the estate of a poor man he was suddenly raised to be secretary to the king, dean of York, treasurer of England, and archbishop of Canterbury. He enjoyed this dignity two years, when in those uncertain times he was compelled to retire again into obscurity. Upon the restoration of order he was appointed bishop of London, but died the year following *
Elcaner, wife to Sir Hugh Fen, mother to Margaret lady Abergavenny.
Richard Vancke, baron of the Exchequer, and his wife, daughter to William De la River.
MONUMENTS. On the north side of the choir, the tomb of the founder Rahere, under a kind of alcove, his ef. figies lying straight with the face upward, and hands conjoined over his breast ; three friars, one on each side, • Walsingham, Weever.