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“ William the king greeteth William the bishop and Godfrey the portreeve, and all the burgesses within London, French and English, friendly And I acquaint you, that I will that ye be all those laws worthy, that ye were in King Edward's day. And I will that every child be his father's heir, after his father's day. And I will not suffer that you any wrong.


preserve you." It is a very intelligible piece of worldly wisdom to have to note, that he followed this charter up by building “the White Tower,” the chief feature in our imposing fortress, the Tower of London. In the year 1100, his son, Henry I., gave the city a fresh charter, distinctly enumerating the privileges of the citizens, which had been hitherto merely prescriptive; and he granted to the Corporation the perpetual Sheriffwick of Middlesex.

But the greatest instance of the influence which London displayed, and which she has ever since exerted on the national history, was the fact that in the fierce contest for the crown, between Stephen of Blois and Matilda, it was the citizens of London who decided the question in favour of the former. "By that time the population of the city had received a very large foreign element. Not only Danes, but Normans and Gascons had been welcomed with readiness and admitted to full citizenship. Of course the Norman Conquest had done this. The rich merchants of Rouen and Caen were a strong acquisition to London commerce. It was the Norman element which turned the scale in the contest for the crown, and there were two causes which operated on the Normans. Matilda had married Geoffry, count of Anjou, and there was a traditional jealousy between the Normans and Angevins. But further, the Londoners were now under the spell of a strong religious movement to which I shall have presently to refer, and the Angevin princes already bore, and continued to bear, the character of blasphemers of God and His Church.

Mr. J. R. Green vividly points out how, on the vacancy of the throne, the Londoners, in the absence of noble and bishop, now claimed for themselves the right of election. “Undismayed by the want of the hereditary counsellors of the Crown, their aldermen and crier-folk gathered together the folk-mote, and these providing at their own will for the good of the realm, unanimously agreed to choose a king. The very arguments of the citizens are preserved to us as they stood massed doubtless in the usual place for the folk-mote at the east end of Paul's, while the bell of the commune rang out its iron summons from the detached campanile beside. • Every kingdom,' urged alderman and prudhomme, 'was open to mishap, where the presence of all rule and head of justice was lacking! It was no time for waiting ; delay was in fact impossible in the election of a king, needed as he was at once to restore justice of the law. But quick on these considerations followed the bolder assertion of a constitutional right of pre-election, possessed by London alone. 'Their right and special privilege it was, that on their king's death his successor should be provided by them ;' and if any,

then Stephen, brought as it were by Providence into the midst of them, already on the spot. Bold as the claim was, none contradicted it; the solemn deliberation ended in the choice of Stephen, and amidst the applause of all, the aldermen appointed him king.”

It will be convenient to pause at this point to look at the great change which had taken place westwards. The stately Abbey of Westminster had arisen on what was once a thorny waste. Originally founded by Sebert, the first Christian King of the East Saxons, it had been rebuilt by King Edward the Confessor in the Norman style, of which he was the real introducer into England. It was consecrated only a week before his death, January, 1066, and the ill-fated Harold was crowned in it immediately after, as was William the Conqueror before the year had ended From that day to this Westminster Abbey has been the scene of the Coronation of all the English monarchs. Later on, Edward the Confessor was canonised, and his remains were removed from their original restingplace, and laid in a stately shrine prepared by Henry II., who was present, along with his Chancellor and Archbishop Becket, at the “ translation.” This was on the 13th of October, 1163. It was in consequence of the honour thus conferred upon it that the Abbey was declared by the Pope exempt from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London, and subject only to the authority of the Pope and the King of England. Its Abbot was“ mitred,” i.e., he was privileged to wear the Episcopal habit, and to claim a seat on the Episcopal bench in the House of Lords.

The thirteenth century saw a yet further honour for the Abbey. Henry III., who always held the memory of Edward the Confessor in

“ prodigious value” (which he showed by naming his eldest son after him), resolved on rebuilding the Abbey in the beautiful style which we commonly call “Early English,” though he had seen it in France, and at once became, not unreasonably, enamoured of it. The present beautiful church is, in large measure, his work, though later abbots continued it : the material additions since have been the Lady Chapel, commonly known as Henry the Seventh's, he being the founder, and the western towers, by Sir Christopher Wren, at a date outside our limits. It is hard to realise, until one has seen similar buildings on the Continent, that there was a partition wall entirely dividing the choir, which belonged to the monks, and the nave, to which the general congregation was admitted. This wall was removed in the time of Henry VII.

The road between London and Westminster passed amidst detached houses and farms. The monks of Westminster cultivated their produce in the Convent Garden —the name lives on, though the “n” in the first word is

gone. After the peaceable settlement of the Danes, a portion of territory was set apart for them to dwell in between London and Westminster. As they were seafarers, they naturally took the sailor's saint for their patron, and the church which they built for themselves is known to us as St. Clement Danes,

But it is time to return to our City. We have seen that the Cathedral of St. Paul's was now a noble building, worthy of the capital of the kingdom. The Bishop lived on the north side of the Cathedral, his palace and gardens extended back to Paternoster Row; the chapter house, and the cloisters round it, lay on the south side of the nave; fragments of it may be seen to this day. Adjoining the S.W. wall of the nave was the church of St. Gregory-by-St. Paul. The parish still exists. In that church the body of St. Edmund, King and Martyr, lay for some years before it was buried at the town which bears his name. On the east side of the churchyard was a large grass-grown space, just such a spot as we still see so constantly on the borders of country towns and villages—the “village green,” in fact. Across it came the

Across it came the great Roman road, which started from London Stone, passed along what we now call Newgate Street, and went away to Cheshire, following, as we may say, the course of the N.W. Railway. This, after Roman times, received the name of Watling Street, i.e., “Atheling Street” (=High Street). It does not, indeed, so far as the city is concerned, answer to the present Watling Street, for after leaving what we call Budge Row, which was part of it, it went straight on over ground which is now covered with the streets south of Cheapside. It became necessary, later on, to change its course, owing to difficulties connected with the enlargement of St. Paul's Churchyard, and the new Watling Street is the substitute. But to return to the “Green” by St. Paul's. This, after Norman times, was the site of the Folkmote, of which the present “Common Council” are the elected representatives.


The citizens met on this green in the open air, seats being plentifully dispersed about, and here the public business of the city was carried on. Nor must we omit mention of “Paul's Cross," at the east corner of the north transept of the Cathedral, the site of which was discovered by Mr. Penrose, and is now marked by an inscription on the ground. At the east end of the green there was a short, narrow street, passing through which you came (just where is the fine plane-tree) into Cheapside. But it will tax the imagination of the reader considerably to realise how different was this locality from that which bears the same name to-day. “ Side” means “place," or “part.” Cheapside means, therefore, “ Market-place.” It was as much the London market-place as that of any provincial town of to-day. It was a large square, reaching back as far as the present Honey Lane, and other streets in a straight line with it, and with booth-decked streets branching away as far as the Guildhall and Basing Hall.

Here, then, we have the two centre places of Old London : the Cathedral, with its ecclesiastical surroundings (a large, populous, and important district in itself), and the Chepe, into which, north and south, ran streets, the names of which indicated the nature of the commerce carried on there. Thus there was Bread Street, where the bakers congregated, and to which were brought the supplies of corn landed from the river close by, having been conveyed thither chiefly from the great cornfields which covered the whole Isle of Thanet. The name of St. Mildred's Church in this street is a relic of the respect paid to her as being the tutelary saint of that bread-growing island. Ironmonger Lane, Wood Street, Milk Street, and the Poultry tell their own story. Budge Row was so called because here were sold robes of Budge, a kind of fur, for Aldermen and other public officers. Milton talks of the “budge


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doctors.” Friday Street, in close contiguity with St. Paul's and some of the other great religious houses, was so called because it was devoted to the sale of fish for fast-days, &c. At a later time it became necessary to have an additional market-square, and it was found in the East Cheap.

All through the Plantagenet times, the “golden age of chivalry,” the great square of “the Chepe” was the scene of tournaments and martial pageants. Adjoining the church of St. Mary-le-Bow was a scaffold projecting into the street, which it was the privilege of Royalty and the courtiers to occupy on such occasions. Once, in the reign of Edward III., a sad accident occurred by the falling in of this scaffold, whereby some not only of the occupants, but of the spectators in the street beneath, were killed. It is said that the King, with true Plantagenet violence, ordered the head carpenter to be hanged, and was turned from his purpose, as at Calais, by the intercession of the Queen. It led to an alteration. The Royal gallery was firmly fixed to the wall of the church, and so remained. Years later, after the Great Fire, when Wren rebuilt the church, and surmounted it with its present beautiful spire, there was a stipulation that there should be a “Royal gallery.” And there it is still, the passer-by can see it from the street. I doubt whether Royalty in our time has ever mounted into it, but it is an historical relic of the ancient pageants of Cheapside.* Nor is this the only relic of the past in that church. In ancient times there was a great chamber, resting on arches, in the tower, and the church was called the Church of Sancta Maria de Arcubus ; hence its present name of “St. Mary-le-Bow." That_chamber was the rightful possession of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who held it as his court for the trial of ecclesiastical causes brought before him as Metropolitan. Hence came the title of “Court of Arches,” the Spiritual Court of the Metropolitan. Strangely altered as the office has become in the course of

years, it still exists; the judge of ecclesiastical cases is still known as “the Dean of Arches.” And when this St. Mary's Church was rebuilt after the Fire of 1666, Wren placed its magnificent spire on an arched base—a memorial of the ancient ecclesiastical dignity.

* One of the “properties” still remains in Ironmongers' Hall, an ostrich on which a black boy was seated in a seventeenth-century Mayoralty pageant. The beautiful drawings of Anthony Munday's "Chrysanaleia,” a pageant prepared for Sir John Leman's Mayoralty procession in 1616, are preserved at Fishmongers' Hall.

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