Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Sabernes, about the year 1298. The brothers of this Order originally carried an iron cross in their hands, and wore a garment distinguished by a red cross; but the former was afterwards exchanged for one of silver, and the colour of the cross on the garment altered to blue. At the dissolution of the monasteries, the house of the Crossed Friars was granted by Henry the Eighth to the graceful poet, Sir Thomas Wyatt; and at a subsequent period it came into the possession of John de Lumley, fifth Baron Lumley, a distinguished warrior in the sixteenth century. In 1557, we find the Friars Hall converted into an establishment for manufacturing drinking-glasses, the first of the kind known in England. In Crutched Friars resided at the close of his life, William Turner, the eminent naturalist of the sixteenth century. He probably died here, for his remains were interred in the chancel of the neighbouring church of St. Olave's, Hart Street.

The old Navy Office, of which we find so many interesting notices in Pepys's Diary, stood on the site of the old chapel and college attached to Allhallows Church, Barking. There was one entrance into Seething Lane; but the “chief gate for entrance” was in Crutched Friars. Here it was, as we learn from Anthony Wood, that the well-known admiral and poet, Sir John Mennes, breathed his last.

When the kings of England held their court in the Tower, it was natural that the presence of royalty should attract many of the nobility to reside in the vicinity of the royal fortress. Accordingly, in the reign of Edward the Sixth, we find Henry Earl of Arundel residing in Mark Lane, in a magnificent house formerly belonging to Sir William Sharrington ; while, close to Crutched Friars, stood the mansion of the Percys Earls of Northumberland. Here resided Henry the second Earl, who fought in the battle of Agincourt, and at Chevy Chase, and who afterwards fell at the battle of St. Albans; and here also lived his son, Henry the third Earl, who was killed leading the vanguard at the battle of Towton :

Northumberland; a braver man
Ne'er spurred his courser to the trumpet's sound.

SHAKSPEARE. Stow informs us that, on being deserted by the Percys, the garden was converted into bowlingalleys, and other parts into dicing-houses. In Mark, or Mart Lane, as it was anciently called, Milton's friend, Cyriac Skinner, carried on the occupation of a merchant. *

To the east of Mark Lane and Crutched Friars is the street called the Minories, which takes its name from the Minoresses, or Nuns of the Order of St. Clair, for whose maintenance Edmond Earl of Lancaster founded a convent here in 1293. In 1539, it was surrendered to Henry the Eighth by Dame Elizabeth Savage, its last abbess. Some time after its suppression it became the residence of the Bishops of Bath and Wells, and was afterwards granted by Edward the Sixth to Ilenry Grey Duke of Suffolk, who was beheaded on Tower Hill, in 1554, for his attempt to raise his daughter, Lady Jane Grey, to the throne. On the attainder of the Duke it reverted to the Crown, and, shortly after the Restoration, was granted by Charles the Second to Colonel William Legge, so celebrated for his loyalty and gallantry during the civil wars. At the battle of Worcester he was wounded and taken prisoner, and would have been executed had not his wife enabled him to effect his escape from Coventry gaol in her own clothes. He died here in 1672, and was followed to the grave, in the adjoining Trinity Church Minories, by Prince Rupert, the Dukes of Buckingham, Richmond, Monmouth, Newcastle, and Ormond, and many others of the principal nobility. Since that time, his descendants, the Earls of Dartmouth, have continued to make Trinity Church their family burial-place. Among these may be mentioned George first Baron Dartmouth, whose name figures so conspicuously in the annals of the Revolution of 1688, and who died of apoplexy in the Tower, in 1691. The present church was rebuilt in 1706, but, with the exception of the monuments to the Dartmouth family, contains no particular object of interest.

* Fasti Oxonienses, 266.

Stow informs us, that on a portion of the property, formerly belonging to the nuns, arose “divers fair and large storehouses for armour and habiliments of war, with divers workhouses serving to the same

purpose.” In the time of Dryden the Minories was still colonized by gunsmiths; and Congreve writes,

The Mulcibers, who in the Minories sweat,
And massive bars on stubborn anvils beat,
Deformed themselves, yet forge those stays of steel
Which arm Aurelia with a shape to kill."

It was in a wretched hovel in the Minories that Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham,—once the possessor of a princely fortune, and the last descendant of an illustrious race,—closed his life in poverty and filth. Having been sentenced to death with Lord Grey of Wilton, for their participation in the alleged conspiracy of Sir Walter Raleigh, they were led to the scaffold, without any apparent prospect of a reprieve. Almost at the moment, however, when they were about to lay their heads upon the block, it was intimated to them that their lives had been spared; when such was the effect produced on their nervous systems, that, according to Sir Dudley Carleton, “they looked strange on one another, like men beheaded and met again in the other world.” Lord Grey died in prison ; but, after a time, Lord Cobham obtained his release, to perish in the miserable manner we have mentioned. His wife, Lady Cobham, though living herself in affluence, is said to have refused him the means of procuring a crust of bread and a clean shirt. Osborne informs us, on the authority of William Earl of Pembroke, that Lord Cobham died, “rather of hunger than any more natural disease,” in a room ascended by

a ladder, at the house of a poor woman in the Minories, who had formerly been his laundress.”

Passing to the eastward from the Minories, through Haydon Square, we find ourselves in Goodman's Fields, the site of a Roman burial-place, which derives its name from one Goodman, who had a farm here in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Stow, who was born as late as 1525, remembered this now densely populated district while it was still open country, and when some of the principal nobility had villas in the neighbourhood. Speaking of the nunnery in the Minories, he says : “ On the south side thereof was sometime a farm belonging to the said nunnery, at the which farm I myself, in my youth, have fetched many a halfpenny worth of milk, and never had less than three alepints for a halfpenny in the summer, nor less than one ale-quart for a halfpenny in the winter; always hot from the kine, as the same was milked and strained. One Trolop, and afterwards Goodman, were the farmers there, and had thirty or forty kine to the pail. Goodman's son, being heir to his father's purchase, let out the ground; first for grazing of horses, and then for garden-plots, and lived like a gentleman thereby.”

To the lovers of the stage, Goodman's Fields will always be interesting as having been the site of the celebrated Goodman's Fields Theatre. It was founded in 1729, by one Thomas Odell, in spite of declamations from the pulpit and the opposition of many grave and respectable citizens, who dreaded

« VorigeDoorgaan »