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Fraternities.--St. Nicholas, Bishopsgate-street ; St. Fabian and St. Sebastian, or the Holy Trinity, Aldersgate-street; St. Giles, Whitecross-street; The Holy Trinity, Leadenhall; St. Ursula-le-Strand; Hermitage, Nightingale-lane, East Smithfield; Corpus Christi, St. Mary Spital; the same, at St. Mary, Bethlehem, and St. Mary, Poultry.
The archiepiscopal and episcopal residences were, Lambeth Palace, York-place, or Whitehall; Durham-house, Strand; Inns of the Bishops of Bath, Bangor, Chester, Llandaff, Worcester, Exeter, Litchfield, and Carlisle, all but one in and near the Strand; Bishop of Hereford's Inn, old Fish-street; Ely-house, Holborn; Bishop of Salisbury, near Salisbury-square, Fleet-street ; Bishop of St. David's Inn, near Bridewell-palace; Bishop of Winchester's-house, Southwark, near St. Mary Overies ; Bishop of Rochester's Inn, adjacent thereto; besides the numerous residences of Abbots and Priors, mostly called Inns : not a vestige of any of the latter is however now known to remain. • A person unacquainted with the history of London might conclude that it had been a mere city of priests and monks, rather than a commercial one ; but it is evident, that the dissolution of the monasteries, and the subsequent increase of wealth and trade, has improved the condition of all ranks, by diffusing the comforts and conveniences of life through channels never opened before. Better roads and better buildings soon succeeded the “ foul ways" and miserable thatched dwellings that had, for a long time, disgraced different parts of the metropolis. Birchin-lane, in the heart of the city, at one time contained more than a score of these hovels; and Billiter-lane became proverbial for the boldness of the beggars that occupied it, and constantly annoved the decent passengers. The first act of parliament for the pavement and improvement of the city, was passed in 1510, temp. Hen. VIII., which described the streets to “be very foul and full of pits and sloughs, very perilous and noyous, as well for all the king's subjects on horseback as on foot with carriages.” The streets first paved, under the statute, were aldgate High-street, Shoe-lane, Fetter-lane, Gray's-Inn-lane, Chancery-lane, and the way leading from Holborn-bar towards St. Giles's in the Fields, as far as any habitations on both sides of the said street. · The next act for paving London referred particularly to Chiswellstreet, Whitecross-street, Golden-lane, Grub-street, Long-lane, St. John’s-street, from Smithfield-bars up to the Pound : Cow-cross from the said bars; the way leading without Temple-bar westward by and to Clement's-Inn-gates, and New-Inn-gates to Drury-place, and that stretching to the sign of the Bell at Drury-lane end ; the bridge, called Strand-bridge, and the way lcading thither from Temple-bar; and the lane called Foscue-lane, leading from the garden and tenement of the Bishop of Litchfield, called the Bell and Proctors, down to Strandbridge; all which are stated to be “ very foul, and very necessary to be kept clean, for the avoiding of corrupt savours and occasion of pestilence.” It is evident, from this act, that the streets, afterwards named Butcher-row, Holywell-street, and St. Clement's were not then built. Holywell-street must have been so called from its proximity to St Clement's Well, at which many miraculous cures were
supposed to have been performed. Some writers consider this well to have been in St. Clement’s-lane, which, at least, must have been one of the avenues to it. At this time, Golden-lane was literally a green avenue, between cottages and gardens. Whitecross-street derived its name from a conduit which stood there, surmounted by a white cross. Chiswell-street was an open road, between detached wooden houses, shaded with trees, which was probably the case, likewise, with Beech-lane. Bishopsgate-street without was also in a considerable degree composed of detached wooden and brick houses, with trees intermingled, and standing at a distance from each other. About this era some fresh supplies of water were conveyed to the city from the springs near Perilous-pool, near the City-road, since called Peerless pool, Hackney, Muswell-hill, Hampstead-heath, and St. Mary-leBone; and in 1546 new conduits were erected in Coleman-street and Lothbury.
PREROGATIVE OFFICE, Doctors' COMMONS.--Although it was our intention, at no distant period, to notice the manner in which this office is conducted ; the general tone of insolence which prevails within its walls ; and the innumerable annoyances to which persons making searches there are subjected, we did not expect to have been so soon assisted in our views by a sufferer. The statements in the following letter we know to be strictly true; and we earnestly hope, that the complaints of our intelligent correspondent may reach the ears of those who have the power to remedy what is little short of a publie nuisance, and a public disgrace. The daily press has already alluded to the subject; and we shall speedily recur to it.
“ Let it be supposed,” our Correspondent observes, “ that a poor and illiterate man be interested in the contents of a will: he goes to the Prerogative-office, and commences operations, by paying his shilling, for leave to search, that is, if the day he has been able to appropriate to this purpose does not happen to be one of the holidays, of which this office requires less, and keeps more, than any other in London : in that case, he must either return re infecta, or pay 3s. 6d. His money obtains him access to the calendars or indexes, and if the name he is looking for happens to begin with any of those letters, abhorred by index-makers and index-readers, B, C, S, or W, &c., he will, for every year his search may extend through, have to pore over thirty or forty folio pages of names, written in a character that is probably as legible to him as the Sanscrit alphabet. Now, a fortnight's labour per annum of one of the half-starved clerks of this establishment would be sufficient to arrange their indexes by the second letter; and thus bring all the wills of the same name together. But this would produce no pecuniary benefit to the officers, though it would save much valuable time to the public; and it is consequently not thought of*. To render the indexes generally legible, by writing them in good round hand, instead of engrossing text, would not add a farthing to the ex
* We believe that it was once proposed to be done by a member of the office; but it was decidedly opposed by his colleagues. Why? —they only can explain.
pense of transcribing them ; but this again would not put sixpence into the pockets of the registrars. If the poor and illiterate searcher in question cannot read the indexes himself, he must give another shilling or two to one of the under clerks to do it for him.
“Suppose the will found : again occurs the difficulty of reading it : to the illiterate man the court-hand, even if well written, probably renders it a sealed book, and he must again recur to his shilling, and get a clerk to read it to him. Even the professional man, accustomed to engrossing hand, may find all his skill baffled by the execrable scrawl, and literally be obliged to refer to the original will, at the expense of another extra shilling.
“ But the will is now read, and found to apply to the case, and hence a copy is wanted. The applicant must immediately deposit the larger portion of the fees for such copy, and is probably told to come again for it in about four days; if he wants it sooner, he must pay ' expedition-money,' to obtain in twenty-four or thirty-six hours what would not occupy one of the ill-paid clerks of the establishment as many minutes to write. At length he gets his copy, which is attested to have been examined by the three deputy registers. Here an unsophisticated applicant would suppose his expenses and his troubles ended, but no such happiness awaits him ; he has, it is true, no more to pay, but he soon learns, that the three deputy registers have never read one line of the paper they have attested * ; and that, if he wishes to have an accurate transcript, he must examine it himself.
“ Having at length procured his copy, and paid for it, let us suppose our poor searcher lays it before his attorney, is encouraged to proceed, and this will is to be made evidence in court. The copy is of no use in this instance ; the original alone can be produced : and here comes the most crying imposition in the whole practice of the office. Although there is already a recorded copy of every will in large folio volumes, too heavy to be stolen, and so carefully kept that nothing short of an earthquake or another fire of London could endanger their safety ; although the will itself is not suffered to go beyond the walls of the office, but in the custody of one of the clerks of the establishment, whose fees and conduct-money must be previously paid; the applicant now finds that he must again pay for another copy of the same will, to be deposited in the office, as security against the possible chance of their own clerk losing the document intrusted to his care. Whether this cautionary copy be always made, may perhaps admit of some doubt ; but whoever is unfortunate enough to be admitted to these prerogativian mysteries will find it must, at least, always be paid for; and sometimes, when for instance both parties in a suit require the production of the same will, twice over.
* To this disgraceful fact we can bear positive testimony. On the only occasion on which we had a copy of a Will, there was an error in the date of one hundred and fifty years, though the names of three persons occurred to it, testifying that they had examined that transcript with the original !
“ Private remonstrances against abuses of this nature are worse than useless; they only serve to expose the complainant to the impertinence of underlings, and the jeers, if not the enmity, of the higher powers. The broad glare of publicity alone can scare the obscene birds from their feasts of peculation.”
Henry the Fourth, in February, 1401, terminated a quarrel between Sir Thomas de Erpingham and the Bishop of Norwich in the following manner. The king came to the parliament, where the bishop was in his place, and Sir Thomas sat between the Duke of York and the Earl of Warwick. After noticing the dispute, at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the other bishops, abbots, and priors, Henry commanded Erpingham and the bishop to take each other by the hand, and to kiss each other ; “ on which the said archbishop rose from his seat in parliament, and took the bishop by the hand from his seat, and also took the said Sir Thomas by the hand, and there, in presence of the king and his lords, made them take each other by the hand, and kiss each other, in sign of perpetual love between them in all times to come."- Rolls of Parliament, vol. iii. pp. 456-7.
NOTICES OF BOOKS LATELY PUBLISHED.
Early Prose Romances, edited by William J. Thoms.We notice with much satisfaction this reprint of the popular literature of our ancestors; and we sincerely hope that the undertaking may meet with the success which it deserves. It is not the mere antiquary who is gratified by being able to procure those romances which were once the mental recreation of society, and unquestionably form part of our national literature; but the general reader, who is possessed of the least curiosity, will gladly become acquainted with what may be termed the “ Waverley Novels” of their day. Still more, who is there that is not anxious to peruse the sources of many of the nursery tales which amused our childhood, and on which we consequently reflect with feelings of affection? “Robin Hood and Little John,” for instance, are names endeared to us by a thousand associations; and who can resist reading the history of their exploits ? On the deductions which may be made from those “ Romances,” with respect to the manners of the times when they were written, and the evidence which they afford of the intellectual attainments of the age in which they were so highly appreciated, we have not now the opportunity to speak ; but we are fully convinced that an attentive perusal of those pieces may be attended by far more important results than the amusement of an idle hour, for which however they are eminently calculated. Five have now appeared: “ Robert the Devil ;” “ Virgilius;" “ Thomas of Reading ;” and “Robin Hood:” and “George a Green;" “ Tom o' Lincoln;" “ Dr. Faustus ;" “ Knights of the Swan;" “Gesta Romanorum ;” “Friar Rush,” &c., will follow.
These works are neatly printed in 8vo., and are published in monthly numbers: thus, for a few shillings, a “Romance” may be obtained, which a short time ago many pounds would not have pro
cured, even if it could have been purchased at any price; for some of them have been reprinted from unique originals. The Editor has done little besides giving an accurate text, and prefixing a few remarks, chiefly of a bibliographical nature ; but his observations are always sensible, and he evidently brings to his task much information and zeal. Shall we be accused of absolute heresy if we suggest to Mr. Thoms, that he would have rendered the reprint infinitely more pleasing, if he had so far deviated from the originals as to have altered the u into y, and vice versa, a change, by the by, warranted by the strongest reasons; and what we are sure will weigh much more in his opinion, by the example of our profoundest black-letter antiquaries. "To retain this absurdity borders much on foolish pedantry, and is seldom done in the present day by those whose taste and judgment are deserving of respect. It is not every person who will recognise “ Robert the Devil," as “Robert the Deuyll;" or at once understand seuen, moued, &c., in a work abounding in obsolete words.
Historical Index of the Principal Battles in England and Wales, 8vo. pp.32.-If this tract had been compiled from the best sources of information it would be a most useful companion to historical and antiquarian researches ; but its value cannot be very great, when all the statements in it are derived from Rapin, Hume, and Goldsmith. The plan is not a bad one; and if the compiler will carefully revise his book, throw Rapin, Hume, and Goldsmith aside, and consult every writer contemporary with the respective periods, the “ Fædera” and other undoubted sources of information ; if, after copying what is said respecting the date of each battle by the different authorities to which we allude, he will then examine conflicting assertions, and adopt those which he can prove to be correct, he will render a most acceptable service to antiquarian literature. At present we cannot rely upon his pages, because we do not place any confidence in either of the works from which they are taken. The editor's acquaintance with the names of the distinguished personages he mentions is sadly imperfect, for he often attributes a baptismal name to a man, which was, in fact, the surname of another person ; and thus confounds two individuals with one ; for example, p. 9, “ Arundel Comyn,” who were clearly separate persons, the one called Arundel, and the other Comyn; and we not unfrequently meet with names which never existed, as the Duke de Tany for Luke de Tany, p. 10. The use of such an Index is most stupidly lessened, by its omitting to notice those battles fought by the English in France, as Cressy, Poictiers, &c. But we have already bestowed too much attention on this tract, which, in its present form, is of no other use than as a sort of index to the volumes from which it was compiled.