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From Blackfriars Bridge to Bridewell, Tudor Street,

Salisbury Square, Dorset Street, cross White Friars Dock to the Temple, Temple Bar, Fleet Street, Nexus Bridge Street.

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AVING succeeded, we trust to the satisfaction of our

readers, in the account of the City, eastward, we recommence our itinerary at Blackfriars Bridge, through Chatham Square, and on the west side of New Bridge Street, to

BRIDEWELL HOSPITAL. This is built on the site of the antient palace of several English monarchs, as early as the reign of king John, and had been formed out of the remains of a castle, which stood near the Thames. In 1087, William I. gave many of the choicest materials towards rebuilding St. Paul's cathedral, which had lately been destroyed by fire; and Henry I. gave as many of the stones, from the wall of the castle yard, as served to inclose the gates and precinct of the church. Notwithstanding this, the dwelling was sufficiently spacious for royal residence; but was neglected till Cardinal Wolsey made it his habitation in 1522. To this palace the arbi. trary Henry convened all the abbots, and other heads of religious houses, English and foreign, and squeezed out of

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them 100,0001.; in those days an enormous sum. From the Cistertians, who refused to acknowledge his supremacy, he extorted no less than 33,0001. By means of such rapacity he was enabled to rebuild this palace in six weeks, in a most magnificent manner, for the reception of the emperor Charles V.who visited England that year: but after all Henry's extravagant expence, Charles chose to lodge in the mo. nastery of the Black Friars, and appointed the new palace for the accommodation of his suite; a gallery of communication being thrown over the river Fleet, and a passage cut through the city wall into the emperor's apartment. After this Henry often lodged here, particularly in 1529, when the question of his marriage with queen Catharine was in agitation.

That monarch, equally capricious and absolute in his no. tions, took a dislike to the mansion in which he had expended so much, and left it to neglect and decay. In a similar manner, when his rapacity had been extended over the monastic jurisprudence of the country, he did not consider that by such an act of tyranny, he had thrown upon the public a numerous host of mendicants, who had been kept by the hospitallers of those monasteries from time immemorial; these characters, expelled from their usual course of subsistence, without any provision from the state, became public nuisances; which induced Sir Richard Gresham to write the letter to the king, which we have detailed at length in the first volume of this work *.

It was however to the benignant endeavours of the pious martyr, Ridley, bishop of London, that the citizens were enabled to make the lives of the indigent more comfortable, by rendering them more useful. The suppression of monasteries had not only withdrawn charitable assistance from the poor, and had increased their number; but the oppression of the lay landlords, who succeeded, by rack rents, or by employing a few shepherds, instead of many labourers, had filled the cities and towns with swarms of the indigent and idle, that the industrious part of the community were * See page 192.

compelled compelled to sustain an almost insupportable burthen. The landlords also, after their avarice and hard dealings had thrown multitudes into this situation, very unreasonably imagined that they could remedy the disorder they had occasioned, by the severity of law; and therefore, in the first parliament of Edward VI. passed an act for punishing vagabonds, and for the relief of the poor and impotent; by which they enacted, “ That any one who lived idle and loiteringly for the space of three days, being brought be. fore two justices, should be marked with a hot iron on the breast with V, for vagabond, and be judged a slave to the person who brought him for two years; if he absented himself fourteen days in the two years, two justices might order him to be marked with S. with an hot iron on the forehead or ball of the cheek, and adjudge him a slave to his master for ever: if he ran away a second time he should be adjudged a felon. Clerks convict were to be used in the same manner.

All impotent, maimed, or aged persons, were to be relieved by the willing and charitable dispositions of the parishioners in the cities, boroughs, or towns where they were born, or where they had been most conversant for the space of three years.”

Notwithstanding this act, London continued to be so pestered with vagabonds, that a proclamation came out in 1550, for avoiding them “out of the city, and Southwark, and the liberties of the same.” It is probable that they saw the unreasonableness of punishing the subjects so severely merely for vagrancy, and whom the rapacity of the times had made so; the parliament therefore repealed the act, so far as related to making unworking people slaves. But their distresses continuing, and the city having no power or authority to provide properly for them, the good Ridley could not see the miseries of the idle without commiserating them, nor the burthen and nuisance which they were to the industrious without wishing some redress. The benevolence of the city had taken some care of the industrious and calamitous poor; but the idle vagabonds, who were disinclined from working, they knew not how to employ, or


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lodge, or teach them to be useful. This the bishop turned over in his thoughts, and finding that the avaritious courtiers were still wresting every thing from the young sovreign, at cheap bargains; and knowing that there was the decayed king's palace of Bridewell, which might be serviceable for the excellent purpose he intended, and which one of those courtiers was about to purchase, Ridley wrote a letter to Sir William Cecil, the king's secretary, whom he knew to be of a pious disposition, to assist him in his praiseworthy endeavour. How earnest he was to recover these unhappy people, and to make them useful to themselves and the public, appears from the letter itself:

• Good Mr. Cecil, I must be a suitor to you in our good master Christ's cause; I beseech you to be good to him. The matter is, Sir, alas! he bath lain too long abroad (as you do know) without lodging, in the streets of London, both hungry, naked, and cold. Now, thanks be to Almighty God! the citizens are willing to refresh him, and to give him both meat, drink, cloathing, and firing : but, alas! Sir, they lack lodging for him. For in some one house I dare say they are fain to lodge three families under one roof.

Sir, there is a wide, large, empty house of the king's majesty's, called Bridewell, that would wonderfully well serve to lodge Christ in, if he might find such good friends in the court to procure in his cause. Surely I have such a good opinion of the king's majesty, that if Christ had such faithful and hearty friends who would heartily speak for him, he should undoubtedly speed at the king's majesty's hands.

Sir, I have promised my brethren the citizens to move you, because I do take you for one that feareth God, and would that Christ should lie no more abroad in the streets.”

The good prelate ultimately succeeded in his application, though the perfect endowment of this house was not till the succeeding year, 1551, when it was granted “ for correcting and reclaiming idle, loose vagrants, finding them work, and training up boys to several useful trades.Of which useful charity, and other hospitals, erected in the reign of king Edward, by the means of bishop Ridley,

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